The Lynn community, family members and friends are remembering Michelle J. Conlon as an outstanding swimmer, an excellent student, a beautiful and loving daughter, granddaughter, sister, and aunt, and a fantastic person.
Conlon, an assistant coach of the Lynn English High School swimming team, died on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011, after an 11-month battle against cancer. She was 38.
“I honestly don’t know anyone as strong as she was – that’s what I told the swim team about her coming to coach at practices and meets this whole season,” said Lynn English Athletic Director Gary Molea. “I told the kids that ought to be a lesson learned – about how strong she really was through this whole thing.”
Conlon joined her sister, Lynn English head coach Marianne Duncan, in leading the team at the Lynn City Meet on Feb. 5. She was also present at the Northeastern Conference Swim Meet early last week.
Conlon’s dedication to the team is something that Kelly Doran, a captain of the English swim team, will never forget.
“She was the strongest person I ever met and she had a very big impact on the entire team,” said Doran. “Her courage inspired all of us. It was just amazing having these two great sisters working together and coaching us – and seeing how much they wanted to help us every day. I know all the kids on the team will be dedicating their swimming careers to her.”
Marianne Duncan said her family has been touched by the letters, cards, and emails that it has received, and the many people who have stopped by to express their condolences.
“Everyone has been very supportive, which always gives you a little bit of comfort during these hard times, so we appreciate what everyone has done for us,” said Duncan.
Duncan said Michelle always told the family that she ‘would fight it 110 percent, fight the good fight,’ “and she definitely did. She was at a swim meet two days before her passing, so she fought hard and it was just at the very end where things just started to go quickly.”
Michelle Conlon was the daughter of Bartley J. Conlon, former director of Lynn Tech, and Diane Conlon, a former Lynn schoolteacher. She was a sister of Marianne Duncan, Melissa McElaney, and the late Michael Conlon.
“Michelle was the best sister, the best friend and everything you could ask for,” said Duncan. “She was a great daughter, a wonderful auntie to the kids– she wanted to spend as much time as she could with them and she made each of them feel like they were so important, which they were.”