Fay Davis, 86, passed away peacefully on Thursday morning, Oct. 26, 2023, after many months of enduring breast cancer that had spread throughout her body. Most of Fay’s life was a battle of one kind or another, and now that she is safely wrapped in the loving arms of the Savior, her soul can rest and be reunited with family and friends who were waiting to welcome her home.
Fay was born in Bell, California on Dec. 18, 1937, the first child of James R. and Elva L. Stuart, eight years later her only sibling and life-long “bestie” Wes, (James Weston Stuart) came along. Fay’s paternal grandparents were farmers and owned a plot of land inside the city limits of Provo. As a small child, Fay loved to reunite with her cousins each summer for fruit harvesting on the farm. She liked picking and eating the cherries that they grew and she particularly enjoyed working the fruit stand, selling fresh fruit and vegetables to those who stopped by on the dusty highway heading to or from Salt Lake City.
Although Fay’s father was born in Morgan, Utah, and then raised in Springville, Utah, towards the end of the Great Depression he decided to relocate to Los Angeles, California, to look for work. It was there he worked as an elevator operator and later found a career with the Telephone Company. Elva, Fay’s mother, arrived shortly after and they were married. When Fay was born the family lived in a little house on Farnam Street and her parents later purchased their first home on 1020 Lantana Dr, in Highland Park (a suburb of Los Angeles), near Pasadena, California. This is the area where Fay made many lifelong friends and went to elementary, junior high and high school. While she was still in elementary school, the neighbor boys recruited Fay to play “work up” (a form of baseball) in the streets in Highland Park. She always made sure that they didn’t cheat her out of her turn at bat! When they got bored with baseball they tried to recruit her to play “Flag Football” to which she would promptly decline and tell them to find someone else.
Fay found a second home to grow up in right next door, where her favorite Aunt Edna and her great-grandparents lived. She spent many wonderful hours together with Aunt Edna, for whom she felt a special kinship. Aunt Edna loved, mentored, and constantly encouraged Fay throughout her life. Fay remembered that when she was as young as 2 years old, she would often wake up before her parents, venture all by herself over to Aunt Edna’s, knock on her back door and walk in and get a snack; she never considered that Aunt Edna might not be home.
It was about that same time, at the tender age of 2 or 3, that the defining battle of Fay’s life occurred; while playing on a porch with her cousin, she fell backward (she remembers being “pushed”) and badly injured her neck, shoulder and back. After many doctors’ appointments and treatments, Fay was left with a permanent injury to her neck, causing her head to “lean” to the side and her gait to be unbalanced. This was a source of both discomfort and embarrassment for Fay for the rest of her life. She also lost the use of her natural right hand and had to learn to write left-handed, which also caused her to be self-conscious about her handwriting throughout her life. These challenges propelled Fay to become the determined person we all know and she never let them stop her. She had dreams of becoming a fashion designer someday and her early drawings were really quite glamorous for their time.
In her late teens, Fay discovered that roller skating minimized the effects of her injuries. With much practice, she became quite proficient and was a regular at the Pasadena Moonlight Roller Rink, with the popular tune “Syncopated Clock” setting the beat. Her unique style of skating, taking one stride to the left and two to the right, earned her the moniker: “Crazy Legs” Whenever she showed up at the rink with her skates draped over her shoulder, her friends would yell: “Here comes Crazy Legs!” We never got tired of hearing her tell that story because it was one of the few times that Fay would actually laugh out loud and flash a big grin.
It was at that roller rink that Fay met two men, one the love of her life, and the other the man she would choose to briefly marry, all within a few months of each other at the end of the Korean War. Buddy, her first love, showed up first, dashing in his uniform, and swept Fay off of her feet. However, he had just been discharged from the Army in San Diego and was heading home to Florida to see his family for the first time in two years. After a few dates and a riff between them, Buddy decided it was time to return home to Florida.
Meanwhile, Dave, as his Army buddies called him, aka Claude Aaron Davis, showed up in his “civvies,” having been discharged sometime earlier, and put the “full-court press” on Fay. She claims that shortly after they met, Dave “shoved” an engagement ring onto her unsuspecting finger and she couldn’t get it off. When Buddy came to say “good-bye,” he saw the ring on Fay’s finger and he left in disappointment. After a short engagement, Fay and Dave were married.
Fay’s marriage to Dave lasted about five difficult years and produced two amazing daughters, Deb and Karen. Fay got into the retail clerks union and worked tirelessly for Thrifty Drug Stores for 20-plus years to support her “girls” through their high school years and a few years for Vons Grocery Store and a short stent with Hostess Bakery Outlet. In 1976, after many years of living in Highland Park, California, she moved the girls out of the city to the “country” in Yucaipa, California, where Fay lived for many years before retiring to St. George, Utah.
Fay was active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as she got older and was proud to receive her endowment in the Los Angeles Temple. Once she made the commitment to the Lord, she remained faithful for the rest of her life and always encouraged her family to do the same. She has made many loyal friends along her life’s journey, while sharing interests in sewing and quilting, bowling, square dancing, church and family activities. She will forever be remembered by those who knew her best and loved her most as “Spunky,” “Spicy,” “Determined,” “Tenacious, “(Stubborn)” and “Forever Sassy,” which is what her grandchildren requested be etched on her headstone!
Fay is survived by her brother James Weston Stuart (Pat) Blackhawk, Colorado, her “girls” Deb Bobik (Ralph) Washington, Utah; Karen Munton (Matt) Yucaipa, California; 11 grandchildren; and 28 great-grandchildren, who will all miss her dearly.
Fay’s family will be forever grateful for the compassionate care she received at the end of her life from The Meadows at Escalante and Pathways Hospice & Palliative Care, especially her nurse and dear friend Genevieve and aide Kassi.
A viewing of Fay will be held on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023, from 12:30-1:30 p.m. at Hughes Mortuary, 1037 E 700 S, St. George, followed by a Graveside Service at 2 p.m. at the Tonaquint Cemetery, at 1777 S. Dixie Dr, in St. George, Utah.
Click here to live stream service via Zoom.
Arrangements are under the direction of Hughes Mortuary.