William Barret Conway

January 15, 1931December 14, 2015

William B. Conway, 84, who as CEO of a leading civil engineering firm, was the Principal-In-Charge for the design of the Greater New Orleans #2 Bridge, died on Monday evening in Ochsner Hospital. The cause was congestive heart failure. Mr. Conway was a partner in Modjeski and Masters, a national engineering firm, from 1969 until his retirement in 2007, having served as CEO since the firm incorporated in 1992 through 2004. His career included many notable milestones and accomplishments, particularly in long-span bridge design. He was the Principal-in-Charge for eight award winning Mississippi River Crossing projects, including the Interstate I-10 Bridge in Baton Rouge, the Interstate 310 Bridge at Luling and the Greater New Orleans #2 Bridge, which was the second longest cantilever span in the United States. Later projects directed by Mr. Conway included the seismic retrofit of the steel portions of the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge in California and the widening of the Huey P. Long Bridge over the Mississippi. Mr. Conway received many engineering awards including the Louisiana Lifetime Achievement Award and the prestigious John A. Roebling Medal for lifetime achievement in bridge engineering. Mr. Conway was active in various New Orleans charities. He served as Chairman of the Board of Trinity Episcopal School from 1978 to 1980 where all seven of his children attended and as Treasurer of the vestry for many years at Trinity Church. He also was involved in the founding of the St Thomas Community Health Clinic in New Orleans. He was a member of numerous New Orleans social clubs and Carnival organizations, which he thoroughly enjoyed. Mr. Conway also served until recently as a Trustee of the West Chop Club in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, where he spent many summers with his extended family, dear friends and his beloved boat of many decades, the Blue Jay. William B. Conway was born in Southampton, New York on January 15, 1931. He was the son of Edmund V. Conway, Jr. and the former Dorothy Brandes, both originally from St. Louis, Missouri and ultimately Montauk, New York. Mr. Conway graduated from Dartmouth College in 1952 where he was known as "Bing" for his resemblance to the famous singer Bing Crosby. He received a Masters of Science in civil engineering from the Thayer School of Engineering in 1954 and then joined the faculty for an additional year. In 1955, he met his future wife, Florance ("Bonnie") Scott on the slopes of Stowe, Vermont and they were married in 1956. After serving as a Seabee in the US Navy at Quonset Point, Rhode Island for two years, Mr. Conway joined Modjeski and Masters in 1957 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He moved with his young family to New Orleans in 1961, fell in love with the city and made it his home. Mr. Conway was recently pre-deceased by his brother E. Virgil Conway and is survived by his wife, Bonnie, and seven children who adored him: William B. Conway, Jr. of Potomac Maryland, Robert S. Conway of Edina, Minnesota, Peter J. Conway of Charlotte, North Carolina, Edward B. Conway of Darien, Connecticut, Elizabeth C. Crawford of New Orleans, Laura C. Williams of New Orleans and Eleanor C. Edwards of Darien, Connecticut. Mr. Conway also had 19 grandchildren, who affectionately referred to their beloved grandfather as "Big." Relatives and friends of the family are invited to attend a memorial service at Trinity Episcopal Church, 1329 Jackson Avenue, on Monday, December 21, 2015. The service begins at 1:00 p.m. with visitation beginning 11:30 a.m. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Trinity Episcopal School, Trinity Episcopal Church, or the charity of your choice. To sign and view the guest book, please visit


  • Visitation

    Monday, December 21, 2015

  • Memorial Service

    Monday, December 21, 2015


William Barret Conway

have a memory or condolence to add?

Daryl Campbell

January 25, 2016

I had a lot of respect for Bill. Everbody I meet that knew Bill always said great things about him.
He will be missed!

David Brookings

January 4, 2016

Bill was a true gentleman and a great bridge engineer. It was a privilege and honor to know him and work with him. My prayers are with all his family.

Ted Trueblood

January 4, 2016

I truly enjoyed the many years I worked with Bill and his team in New Orleans on bridge projects on the Alaska Railroad. Remember fondly the time Bill came to Alaska, stayed at our house and traveled with me to Healy and Denali Park, fished some too and dodged grizzly bears. He was a good companion and a great engineer.

Bob Kollmar

January 4, 2016

An Engineer's Engineer. A wonderful and happy man who shared his passion and knowledge with so many of us. Bill will be missed by all who knew him.

Buddy Porta

December 22, 2015

Heaven just gained a great engineer and even better individual. God bless his family for their loss.

Frank Nicoladis

December 21, 2015

Deepest sympathy. I knew Bill for years and thought he was a great guy.

Kenneth LaBry

December 21, 2015

It saddens me to hear of Bill's passing. He was a very respected colleague and a cherished friend. His accomplishments are many and significant and he will be remembered and missed.

Mike Rachelson

December 21, 2015

I worked for Bill in the late 1970's in my first job out of college and will always remember him fondly. He was a wonderful person to work for and taught me a lot. My sincere sympathies to his family and many many friends.

Mike Duffy

December 20, 2015

I was fortunate to know Bill Conway as his neighbor for a couple of years. I soon came to realize that Bill was not only kind and gracious but that he was also a man of truly significant professional accomplishments. I know Bonnie will miss him greatly.

Terry Lemoine

December 20, 2015

I have always had great respect for Mr. Conway. For a time Mr. Conway was my employer but always a friend. He will be greatly missed.