Obituary: Kevin Michael Conwell

Posted at 10:58 AM, Jun 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-21 12:58:57-04

Kevin Michael Conwell, 60, passed away on June 14, 2022. Kevin was born in Red Lodge, Montana, on October 26, 1961, to Robert and Frances Conwell. Kevin grew up in Red Lodge with his four siblings. It was here that he developed his love for the outdoors, sports, and quality family time.

Kevin was student body president and graduated as Valedictorian of Red Lodge High School in 1981. He then attended the University of Montana in Missoula where he earned a BA degree in 1985 in Secondary Education. While at UM, he continued his love of sports by playing intramurals, coaching, and cheering on the Griz.

On June 23, 1984, Kevin married his high school sweetheart, Barbara O’Malley. He completed his degree before he and Barb welcomed their first daughter, Laura. He accepted his first teaching position in Malta, MT where he taught history and coached basketball for three years. In 1988, their second daughter Jennifer was born and the family moved back to Red Lodge to be closer to family and friends. During his tenure in Red Lodge, Kevin taught history, coached boys and girls varsity basketball, and simultaneously earned a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership. In 1993, Kevin and Barb welcomed their third daughter, Mary.

In 1995, Kevin accepted his first administrative position at Hamilton High School. Three years later, he became principal of Hamilton High School, a position he held for 15 years. Among many accomplishments during his time as principal, Kevin helped develop a new high school and held officer chairs in the Montana Association of Secondary School Principals. He would say though, that his greatest achievement was coaching and supporting his three daughters as Hamilton Broncs.

Always seeking greater challenges, in 2013, Kevin became principal of Bozeman High School. While in this position, he was named Montana’s 2016 AA Principal of the Year. He always put students first and most enjoyed being in the classroom. In 2014, Kevin was diagnosed with cancer. He underwent various treatments but continued to work. Ultimately, he contracted Acute Flaccid Myelitis, a rare condition that resulted in paralysis. During Kevin’s lengthy rehabilitation, he worked hard to adapt to his new normal. He and his family became profoundly grateful and humbled by the outpouring of generous support that they received from the Bozeman community and countless others across the state and country.

Upon retirement, Kevin spent his time squeezing as much enjoyment out of life as he could. He loved exploring historical places in Montana, planning and organizing family events, going to the movies, and writing.

Always an educator, Kevin left a life lesson for everyone: “The cliche - your health is everything - is true. It definitely makes you stop and look at your life and appreciate things more.”

His family and friends have described him as compassionate, empathetic, hard-working, good-natured, even-keeled, and a learner.

He was preceded in death by his father, Robert, and his brothers, Dennis and Greg.

Kevin is survived by his wife, Barb; daughters, Laura Conwell, Jenn Conwell, and Mary Richards; and her husband, Parker; grandchildren, Bridger, Emerson, and Charlotte; mother, Frances Conwell; siblings John (Mayumi) Conwell, Colleen (Jeff) Jennings, and James (Jennifer) Conwell; and numerous nieces and nephews.

The family will hold a public Celebration of Life on June 30, 2022, at the Bozeman High School Auditorium at 3:00 P.M.

In lieu of flowers, Kevin asked that donations be directed to the Acute Flaccid Myelitis Association or St. Jude’s Hospital.

Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service.