James Edward Conway, known as Jim Conway to those who listened to his radio reports on rush-hour traffic from 1964 until his retirement in March, died of cancer Thursday at the Joseph Richey Hospice.
Mr. Conway, who was 68 and lived on Kavanagh Road in Dundalk, retired from WPOC-FM, where he had made his traffic reports from a helicopter since 1978. He would make about eight reports of 30 to 40 seconds each during rush hour, often including safety tips with his reports on how traffic was moving.
In the 1950s, he went to work for the city's Department of Transit and Traffic, and his duties came to include traveling the Jones Falls Expressway on rush-hour safety patrols.
In 1964 he began doing traffic reports on the side for WFBR-AM, from an airplane, and from 1972 until 1978 he did them part time from the ground for WBAL. He retired from the traffic department as a safety officer when he went to WPOC.
For 25 years, he was a volunteer defensive-driving instructor for the Safety Council of Maryland, which he also served as a member of theboard and vice president for the traffic division.
Cody L. Godman, president of the council and a friend of Mr. Conway's, described him as a quick thinker and fast talker "who wanted to be remembered for his love of people and love of Baltimore."
Mr. Conway, a native of the Pigtown area, had been proud of his neighborhood and would often exclaim, "The Sons of Pigtown will shine tonight." He served as master of ceremonies at the 50th reunion of his Southern High School class, according to Mr. Godman.
He had been cited by the Maryland Safety Council, the Maryland Motor Truck Association, AAA of Maryland and several law enforcement agencies.
During World War II, he flew fighter planes for the Royal Canadian Air Force and then served in the U.S. Army Air Forces.
He also served in the Air National Guard and was a member of the American Legion.
He held a private pilot's license, owned his own plane for a time, and belonged to pilots' organizations in Canada and the United States.
He also was an expert on movies of the 1930s and 1940s, especially westerns. He was able to work crossword puzzles quickly and had a liking for bagpipe music, a taste acquired during his Canadian wartime service.
He recently was active with Project Liberty Ship, the group that restored the SS John W. Brown.
He is survived by a daughter, Sandra LaFlame of Bel Air; a son, Thomas Patrick Conway of Dundalk; and two grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements were incomplete yesterday, but the family suggested that memorial contributions could be made to the Joseph Richey Hospice.