ALTON | Some people focus their energies on their professional careers while yet others dedicate their lives to serving the community around them. Connie Markley is one of those rare individuals who has done both.
An Alton native, Markley was born and raised in the local area, graduating from Alton Senior High School. Now 75 years old, Markley looks back on a lifetime which has included forty-four years in retails sales as well as involvement with the local community since 1966.
Markley worked at the Fashion Lane discount store in Alton for thirty years. “Fashion Lane was the first of the discount stores,” she explains. She started at the store two months after it opened and worked there until it closed in 1989. Over that time she worked her way up from entry-level employment to the position of store manager.
Following her career at Fashion Lane she worked at the Target department store in Alton for fourteen years, retiring in 2003. Her long career in retail sales fit well with her personality. “I like people,” she says.
Her involvement with the local community started when she drove her convertible in the 1966 Alton Memorial Day parade. She has been involved with the parade event in some way ever since.
In 1976 during the nation’s bicentennial, Markley was a member of the Upper Alton Association. She was key in coordinating letters, correspondence and media releases for the street fair held in conjunction with Memorial Day activities that year in the city. “I remember working at the cash register at Fashion Lane and doing a telephone interview about the street fair with a radio station at the same time,” she recalls.
She coordinated the Pie Town Flower Guard activities associated with the parade for years. The Guard was responsible for all of the flowers included in the parade. Three years ago, she starting assisting with services at the Avenue Of Flags with the Marines at the Alton Cemetery on Memorial Day weekend.
She works with volunteers to place flowers on three thousand graves there. She is a member of the East End Business Association as well as the Upper Alton Business Association and helps in finding volunteers for the event.
For the past three years, Markley has also participated in the Foster Grandparent Program at Senior Services Plus, working in the Special Education School at the Catholic Children’s Home. This year she received the Virginia Bond Excellence in Volunteer Service award for the work she does there with the children in the classroom. She works as a Foster Grandparent six hours a day, five days a week.
Markley explains part of her motivation for her activities is her love of history. “We need to keep people aware of the past,” she says. “The past created the present and the present creates the future.”
In addition to her work and community efforts, Markley taught Sunday School for twenty-five years, was an elder in her church and sang in the choir. Her creative energies have always provided fresh and imaginative ideas for the activities in which she involves herself.
This area senior continues to find new and interesting ways to help others with each new goal she tackles. Every day, Connie Markley’s activities and contributions to the community continue with no slowing down in sight.