Our deepest condolences to the James Conroy and Red Cloud families...

At left, James Conroy of Red Cloud, a huge Patriots fan speaking with Patriots owner Robert Kraft. At right, although unable to play football and basketball last season the 2017/2018 Red Cloud basketball team dedicated their season to a classmate battling cancer.

By Rich Winter

Caught a little note on Riyen Carlow’s Facebook page expressing his feelings at the passing of 2018 Red Cloud high school graduate, James Conroy.

“Got some heartbreaking news, unfortunately James lost his battle with cancer. It’s definitely tough to take it in but it’s hard to understand why those close to you have to go so early. James was a close friend and a brother to me, and I cherish every moment that I have spent with you. You and CJ treated me like I was family and for that I thank you. Everything we’ve done out there whether it was on the court or football field has been for you. Like we always said we’re #JamesStrong. You’ve fought and fought this horrible disease and you are the real warrior. It still hasn’t hit me yet that you’re gone, and it doesn’t seem real. I’ll continue to give everything my all for you James. 🙏🏽♥️ #JamesStrong James Conroy Rest in Paradise bro. 😔🙏🏽

James passed away on Thursday.

After asking a few questions to folks in the know over at Red Cloud, we learned that James Conroy is like the biggest New England Patriots fan in South Dakota. Diagnosed with brain cancer several years ago, I can only imagine Mr. Conroy smiling last Sunday as his favorite player Tom Brady led the Patriots to a 6th-Super Bowl title.

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Not sure exactly when but James Conroy of Red Cloud attended a Miami Dolphins @ New England Patriots game…While there he and some buddies were able to meet Patriots owner Robert Kraft and for a moment they were featured on the Jumbo-tron as part of the Make-A-Wish foundation.

The loss of Mr. Conroy has to be a tough one for the family and the youth out that way….U see, Mr. Conroy was a good football and basketball player…Last season, when Conroy couldn’t play sports, the Crusaders included him in everything sports related and even dedicated their basketball season to him.

And, he graduated last May.

This a post from Josie Yellow Hair -

I cannot express how happy my heart felt when this amazing team includes James in all of their accomplishments. I appreciate each and every one of you, as well as the coaching staff. I’m sure James would have been playing if it wasn’t for this awful disease. James Conroy you are loved tremendously. Thank you Red Cloud for all your support. Appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.

#JamesStrong