This award shall be given annually for distinguished service to a living person who is a member of AIS Region 2.  The award is primarily for service to Region 2 but consideration may also be given for service to the American Iris Society. The award was proposed in 1987 by William Peck of the Capital Hudson Area in honor of Dr. Irwin A. Conroe for his service to the Empire State Iris Society. The award winner is chosen by a committee established yearly by the RVP of Region 2. The award takes the form of a plaque and citation also prepared by the committee.


IRWIN A. CONROE AWARD                                                         Dorothy Stiefel


Dr. Irwin A. Conroe, (1899-1988) played a very large part in the early history of the Empire State Iris Society (ESIS), predecessor to the current ‘Region 2 of the American Iris Society’ organization. He was present at the ESIS organizational meeting in Elmira in 1953 and became Chairman of the By-Laws Committee. From then on he was continuously active in Society administration. He served as Auctioneer at area iris sales, Master of Ceremonies at regional meetings, and 3 separate terms of 3 years each as AIS RVP.


At the ESIS regional meeting in 1986, William Peck, on behalf of the Capital-Hudson Area, presented a proposal to honorConroe for his service to ESIS. Named in honor of “Doc,” an award was to be given annually to a living person, for exceptional service to ESIS. The first award was made in 1987 and was a dual award to both Bill Peck and “Doc” Conroe.


The original declaration of the award, as published in the ESIS Newsletter, Winter 1987, reads:




  1. There shall be an Empire State Iris Society Award to be known as the Irwin A. Conroe Distinguished Service Medal.
  2. The medal shall be awarded annually to a living person selected to receive the Medal by an Irwin A. Conroe Award Committee to be appointed annually by the president of ESIS, consisting of three members of ESIS; provided, however, Irwin A. Conroe shall be one of the three committee members while he is able and willing to serve.
  3. The Medal shall be awarded for distinguished service rendered while a member of ESIS, primarily for service to ESIS, but the Committee may also consider service to the American Iris Society.
  4. In addition to the selection of the persons to receive the Medal, the Committee shall be responsible for the obtaining of medals, and for the preparation of suitable citations to be awarded with the Medal.
  5.  The Capital-Hudson Area will pay the costs of the first award to be made at the 1987 ESIS annual meeting; and intends to provide any amounts that may be required to cover costs of subsequent awards through 1996 to the extent such costs are not met by the Fund established as provided below.
  6. A Fund will be established to be handled by the ESIS treasurer, who shall hold the same as a special fund of ESIS, and pay to the committee there from amounts requested by it for costs incurred in connection with awards. There shall be added to the Fund any income it may earn. Contributions designated for the Award shall be received into the fund.

    Inscription to read:








Previous Recipients of the Conroe Award

1987          Irwin A. Conroe and William Peck

1988           Harry Kuesel

1989          Lillian & James Gristwood

1990           Lynn Carmer

1991          Al deGroat

1992           Greg Schifferli

1993          Jane Barry

1994           Kathleen Guest

1995          John Wheeler

1996           Wendy Roller

1997          James Burke

1998           Dorothy (Fingerhood) Stiefel (STIS)

1999          Helen Schueler

2000           Donna James (CNYIS)

2001          Peter Weixlmann (WNYIS)

2002           -No Award-

2003          Bob Keup

2004           -No Award-

2005          Don & Donna Lowry (GRIS)

2006           Judith Tucholski

2007          Jerry Murphy

2008           Mildred Horak (STIS)

2009           Anna Rettig

2010           Dana & Sylvia Borglum

2011           Vaughn Sayles (STIS)

2012           -Not Awarded-

2013           Ron James (CNYIS)
2014           Joanne Bassett

2015           -Not Awarded-

2016           Kathryn Mohr and Betty Schnellinger

2017           Kate Brewitt

2018           -Not Awarded-

2019           Carolyn Schaffner

2020           Neil Houghton

2021           -Not Awarded-

2022           -Not Awarded-

2023           -Not Awarded-