Dr. John Charles Coney was born to Willie Mae Kelly and John Coney, Sr. on July 12, 1936 in Vidalia, Georgia. Three children were born to this union, but the untimely death of his mother and a sibling during childbirth left only John and his sister, Mildred, to live with their father. At age 7, John found his father dead in the family outhouse. John’s uncle, Hardy Conley, moved the children to Roselle, New Jersey to live with him.
During his early childhood, John would work as a migrant farmer worker, moving from farm to farm picking whatever crops that were in season at that time. John dropped out of school in the 9th grade, but did not hesitate to obtain his GED. In 1954, John enlisted in the U.S. Air Force; exited with an Honorable Discharge for his 6 years of service.
In 1957, he married Helen Shaw of Linden, New Jersey, and to this union 3 children were born; Julia, Jacquelyn, and John. In 1977, John married Gloria Flentroy in Reno, Nevada. For 42 years, they enjoyed fishing, traveling, golfing, laughing, and most of all serving God. They became members of St. Paul Baptist Church under the leadership of Dr. Ephraim Williams. Even now they still admire and greatly respect Dr. Williams, also the fellowships and lifelong friendships made at the church.
John’s work experience includes: Deputy Probation Officer, L.A. County Probation Department; Psychiatric Technician, Neuropsychiatric Institute, UCLA; and Psychiatric Technician, Patton State Hospital. While employed at Patton State Hospital, John came across a VA vancy for a higher position, for which he applied. He was immediately told he did not have the qualification. With great determination that “No One” would ever disqualify him again for a position; he took the reins and guided his educational career to the highest levels:
BA – California State University, 1967
Masters in Sociology, California State University, 1969
Masters in Social Work, UCLA, 1970
PHD, Brander’s University, Waltham, Mass, with a specialty in Alcoholism and Social Work, 1975
He used his degrees to obtain employment with CSUS as a Professor in the School of health and Human Services for some 33 years until he retired. Over the course of his life, John received many accolades for his community services, as well as authoring professional publications.
John leaves to celebrate his life, his wife, Gloria Coney; 4 children, Julia Freeman of Warminister, PA, Jacquelyn Gilliam of Piscataway, NJ, John Coney (AKA Kether) of Maui, Hawaii, and Reginal Flentroy of Sacramento, CA; one sister, Mildred Paige of Fayesttesville, NC, and a host of nieces, nephews and friends.