Flava Parralee Conley, 97, a retired elementary school teacher and an active member of Calvary Episcopal Church in Washington for many years, died of a heart attack Sept. 8 at her home in the District's Trinidad neighborhood. She had lived in the neighborhood and worked for its betterment for much of her life.
She was born Flava Parralee Landers in Falls Church and grew up among an extended family in Trinidad. She graduated from Dunbar High School in the District in 1925. She received her associate's degree from Miner Normal School (now a part of the University of the District of Columbia) in 1927, attended Columbia University and Hampton University and began her teaching career in 1927.
She taught fifth grade at one school, the District's River Terrace Elementary, for 48 years. She received her undergraduate degree from Howard University in 1965 and retired from teaching in 1975.
In a 1997 article in The Washington Post about the Trinidad neighborhood, she recalled walking to elementary school with her classmates and stopping to pick daisies. She recalled the green lawns, beautiful rose bushes and clean streets.
Mrs. Conley stayed in the hilly Northeast Washington neighborhood -- and stayed active -- even when its sense of community began to give way under the assault of a crack-cocaine epidemic, urban blight and what residents considered indifference from city hall. She was a charter member of the Mount Olivet Heights Citizens Association, serving as secretary from 1948 to 2003. She also was a member of the National Civic Association of Washington, the Near North East Development Community (from 1970 to 2005) and the Gallaudet Community Relations Council (from 1992 to 2005), among numerous other civic involvements.
"I miss the good old days, but I try to make the best of what we have," she told The Post in 1997. A Post article four years later reported that she and her husband were still hard at work and that the Conleys and their fellow Trinidad residents were making slow but tangible progress toward revitalizing their neighborhood.
A niece noted that her church was her second home. A member of Calvary Episcopal for 85 years, she served on the parish council and on the board of directors of the congregation's child development center. She was active with the Joys of Life Calvary Seniors and with compiling the congregation's archives.
Her husband, James T. "J.T." Conley, died in 2004.
Survivors include two sisters, Eunice Landers Carpenter of Washington and Lorraine Landers Brown of Upper Marlboro.