View Full Version : Sr. Margaret Mary Conway RIP

05-21-2009, 02:32 PM
Sr. Margaret Mary Conway, retired coach of the Gonzaga Debate Team in the 70s and 80s, passed away Monday in LaCrosse Wisconsin at the age of 95. Known alternately on the National Debate Circuit as "Machine Gun Maggie" or simply "The Nun," Sister built the foundation for what has become a nationally ranked debate program despite coaching a group of vulgar rejects.

Before the day of gender consciousness and tasteful women's slacks, the Nun referred to her team as "Hams and Skirts." At debate tournaments, she heard the confessions of many national debate coaches, who, being unacquainted with Roman Catholicism, did not understand that she could not absolve their sins, the White Russians notwithstanding.

I know some of the galoots she coached. They all loved her. If they didn't, they were fools. Sister's behind the scenes advocacy for the lot of them, changed lives. Even when retired she said she would remember them in her prayers. They should all remember her. She's earned a place in Heaven.

Your Pal,


Angelo Roncalli
05-21-2009, 03:41 PM
The Nun put the muscle on me once to drive my car to the UM tournament in Missoula.

The occupants of the car were Angelo in the driver's seat, the Nun riding shotgun, Fr. Bargen and some young lady whose name I can't remember (she did dramatic interp) sitting in the back.

I wanted to get to Missoula pronto to rendezvous with a nursing student from Carroll College who was waiting at the Stockman.

As we barreled over Lookout Pass at about 100 mph the nun looked sideways at the speedometer.

"Angelo, aren't we going a little fast?"

"Sister," I replied, "it just looks that way from where you're sitting and refraction from the glass front on the speedometer."

"Oh, Ok, be careful then."

Those impromptu skills come in handy sometimes.

May she rest in peace.

05-21-2009, 07:42 PM
One of my best friends in college, Mike Hope, was a great debater in high school and was even better under Sister's tutelage. He said she was the best teacher he ever had.


05-22-2009, 11:48 AM
I had Sister Conway for Speech 101. During that semester, I got a minor write up in the school paper as a promising freshman on the track team. Sister Conway clipped the article, placed it an envelope with a congratulatory note and gave it to me after class one day.

She gave me an A on my final.

Rest In Peace, Sister, I'll always remember that kind and encouraging gesture. (You all can decide which gesture was the kindest ;) )