Robert Charles Condrey
Robert Condrey was born April 15, 1919 in Caroleen. He was the eighth of nine children born to John and Lurainey Hunt Condrey. His ancestors on both sides of the family had lived in the Rutherford County area for many generations. The John Condrey family moved to Cliffside in the 1920s and lived in a house that stood near where the Cliffside water plant now stands. The family had a farm adjacent to the river. Robert Condrey worked the family farm and also worked in the card room at the Cone Mill Plant.
Robert dropped out of Cliffside High School in 1940 to enlist in the Army. He became part of the Second Armored Division. He served in North Africa, Sicily, England, and landed in Europe on Omaha Beach several days after D-Day. While in Europe he saw a great deal of action and lost several good friends in combat. During the war the Forest City Courier ran pictures of Rutherford County natives in the paper, and one set of pictures showed him and his brother Clarence. See the photos in Remember Cliffside’s World War II section.
He returned to Cliffside after the War. After marrying Elizabeth Hawkins in 1948, he became partners in the Graveyard Grocery on Beason Road with Lila “Sister” Hawkins Hodge. He remained in the grocery business until the mid-1960’s, when he entered the construction business.
Robert and Elizabeth had two sons, Ronnie and John. Ronnie moved to Raleigh in 1976 and worked as HR Manager for the state Department of Insurance. John remained in Rutherford County and has served as Rutherford County Manager for a number of years. Elizabeth Condrey taught elementary school in Rutherford County schools for many years. She died in February, 2005. Both Robert and Elizabeth were life-long members of Cliffside Baptist Church.
Story by Ron Condrey. Photo by James Harris.