Fay Marie Bickmore
Feb 1, 1941 – Feb 6, 2017
Fay Marie Townsend Bickmore was born to Gay Hazel Marie Stewardson and John Thomas Clarence Townsend on February 1, 1941 in Gilbert Plaines, Manitoba, Canada. She grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia with 4 younger siblings joining the family--Barbara, Marilyn, Russell and Margaret. She was known as the girl with red curly hair, who could be covered head to toe in dirt as long as her hands were clean; a trait she kept all her life. (Along with her food never, ever touching--which her "cheeky brat" children and grandchildren liked to tease her about.)
While on her lunch break in May of 1961 she flagged down two American sailors driving by the diner she frequented (if she told the story she was wiping the window but since she didn't work there we find that story fishy and go with dad's memory.) Dad told his buddy to stop and they went in up to the counter and ordered a cup of coffee. The waitress said the two gals by the window just placed their order and they were on it. Thus, started a whirlwind courtship. Dad had told her he was 21, she had just turned 20, so she was a bit surprised to discover when they got their marriage license that he had turned 20 on his birthday, not 22. Her parents were initially not pleased that she was interested in a "damn Yank" but when dad would show up on Sunday's in his dress blues to mow the lawn with a push mower, they figured he was a good guy. They married on October 7, 1961 in Vancouver, British Columbia.
They made their first home in Puyallup after borrowing a fellow Navy buddies car to get them there. A couple days later Dad and his buddy went deer hunting. Mom was so shocked that he would leave her in a brand-new country days after being married. He had previously told her his plans but she didn't believe he would actually do it. Obviously, things worked out between them.
They were blessed with their first son, Clay Patrick, in August of 1962. 16 months later their second son, Clint Ronald, was born in December 1963. They then were transferred to Alaska where they had to supplement their grocery budget with hunting and fishing since ships only came once a month with supplies.
Next, they were transferred to Massachusetts where their daughter, Kristine Rae, was born in October 1966. They then moved to Virginia where Dad was in Officers Candidate School where she was blessed with strangers when she was lost with 3 small children. Their next move was cross country to California. It was late spring so they figured they would camp while driving across country with 3 children, the youngest being about 7 months. The trip provided many memories but not the type they expected with them running into tornados, riots in the streets and snow when they packed light weight clothing. They met many kind strangers along the way who helped them with food and supplies to ease their burdens as they travelled.
After California they were transferred to Ogden, Utah where dad grew up so Mom would have support while Dad was sent out during the Vietnam War. Good friends and family helped Fay raise her young family while he was serving.
After returning from Vietnam, Dad left the Navy and they moved to Federal Way, Washington where they remain today, thinking when they bought the house they'd be lucky to be there for 3 years since he was now in the US Coast Guard.
Mom immediately starting volunteering in the Scout programs and with the school system. She eventually went to work full-time but continued to volunteer. She started at Warren Office Supply in Auburn, Washington doing accounting. She eventually went to work for West Coast Grocery which later became SuperValu in the accounting department. She would help arrange work parties and blood drives, even bringing her granddaughter down to teach them all the Macarena. She also worked part-time with Weight Watchers and loved supporting people while they worked towards their goals.
Mom loved Elvis Presley and everything about him.
Dad introduced her to baseball and the Seattle Mariners which she loved to watch. She spent last weekend at Mariner Fan Fest and had brought a large picture of Edgar Martinez with a sign on it asking him to sign it for her birthday, which he did, and she was so excited about that. And excited for the new season, always hopeful this year she would see them win the Series.
She also faithfully followed and cheered the Seattle Seahawks and University of Washington Huskies. Her birthday party typically was celebrated during half-time of the Super Bowl and the year the Seahawks won was extra fun, the next year they lost and it was such a contrast. She was all in with her cheering, sure if she cheered loud enough they could hear her through the television.
She continued volunteering even after retiring from employment. She was active with the Clothing and Textiles Association, helping people learn to sew, and sewing items for the hospitals and other organizations that needed help. She loved to sew, create works of art in greeting cards which she would send to family and friends whenever she thought they needed a pick me up.
She had plans in the next couple weeks to meet up with friends for lunch, well several groups of friends for multiple parties, to celebrate her 76th birthday which just passed even though she would be using a "kneely walker" since she was scheduled for foot surgery this week.
Her greatest love though was her family. Clay and his wife Carrie, Clint and his wife Margaret, Kristine and her husband Gary McKell. But even more than her children she loved being with her grandchildren--Jessica, her "favorite" (and only) granddaughter, Justin and Jared McKell; Cade, Torin and Rand Bickmore. She then gained a new title of Mimi that Jessica gave to her mom but she passed on to Fay.
And then Jessica married Randall Evans and Justin married Jennifer and her joy increased even more as the family expanded. And then the great grandchildren came along and her joy could not be contained--Elizabeth and Matthew McKell and Amelia and Sawyer Evans. As her grandchildren said they thought they'd seen joy and love from Mimi until they saw her excitement with the great grandchildren. In fact, she spent her last day on the floor playing puzzles and tea party with Elizabeth and Matthew and FaceTime chatting with Amelia and Sawyer surrounded by several family members watching the Super Bowl together.
But even more than her posterity which numbers 6 children, 8 grandchildren, and 4 great grandchildren is her love for our Dad, Larry. They were married over 55 years. They enjoyed many many sweet memories together as they worked together as a young military couple, supported each other through the highs and lows, danced all day the day Elvis died and took a dream cross country train trip and much, much more.
Mom passed away peacefully in bed while reading a book on Monday, February 6, 2017. She put a lot of life in those years--a life well lived, full of friends, family and joy.
We invite you to come celebrate her life. If you would like to see her one last time, a viewing will be held at the mortuary, as well as a room to visit on Friday. Saturday will be a short funeral service followed by a pot luck where we invite all to come, to join us in sharing memories and stories and to remember the sweet generous lady she was. Don't worry if you can't bring anything to the potluck, just come and share and remember her. Burial will be later as determined by the military facility (she would get a chuckle out of the fact they don't work on weekends.)
Please come dressed brightly as mom loved reds and bright colors. Or as my other brother said in your favorite local team gear. Whatever helps you to remember our mom, our Mimi and beloved wife.
This obituary is provided by Bonney-Watson, providing caring and compassionate funeral, cremation and cemetery services since 1868. We have a professional staff, four funeral homes, two cremation facilities and one of the largest cemeteries south of Seattle, as well as a comprehensive grief support program.