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Date of Birth July 15, 1922

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Date of Passing November 16, 2009

Barbara Shay

from Dallas, Arizona, United States

Barbara Shay passed away in Yuma on Monday, November 16, 2009. She was born on July 15, 1922. Barbara spent her youth in Mobridge, South Dakota, with her mom, dad, brother, and many close relatives. As a young woman she attended college in Chicago, becoming a registered nurse, and then a stewardess for Western Airlines in the late 1940’s. She flew from Los Angeles, living first in Hollywood and later in Manhattan Beach, California. She reapplied for the job of flight attendant at age 75, hoping to be hired to work part-time, when Delta Airlines advertised for retired flight attendants from any airline to be rehired for their flight crews. She flew to Dallas for her interview, but, Delta wanted only full-timers. She loved to travel and to fly and visited 6 continents and had innumerable adventures abroad. Barbara married the boy living next door to her in Mobridge, Gene Shay, in 1947, who had courted her through high school and the war. The family moved to Webster, South Dakota, in 1953, and in 1961, for business and health reasons, to Yuma, where Gene established the 2nd generation of the Shay Oil Company, now operated by Dan Shay. Once established in town, Barbara became a school nurse at Gila Vista Junior High and worked for the Yuma Health Department. She and Gene loved Yuma, and were generous with their time and material donations to their church and the Yuma Regional Medical Center. First with Gene, and then on her own, Barbara traveled to six continents. She saw the Taj Mahal by moonlight and rode the Orient Express. She flagged down taxis in desert sandstorms in Isfahan, Iran, and watched the Alvin Ailey Dance Troop at Persepolis. Barbara took a bad tumble from a camel at Giza in Egypt and visited the bazaars of Istanbul. She and Gene crossed the Atlantic on the QE2. During her last years when she struggled with Alzheimer’s Disease, Barbara projected courage and did not complain or seem to have any sense whatsoever of self-pity. Her ability to find humor in life continued. She drew her strength not only from her faith, but from her parents. Her birth family shared their home with the friends and relatives, her mother and father were able to help during the Great Depression. As Barbara slowly lost the ability to function in the world, Dan and Bobbi Shay devoted much time caring for her. She spent her last months at the Kindred Home in Yuma, and in her final days was generously assisted and aided by Hospice of Yuma. Her family is grateful to the staff at Kindred, the volunteers of Hospice, and Dr. James Martin for their aid. Barbara is survived by her two sons, Jim of San Rafael, California, and Dan of Yuma, and their wives, Karen and Bobbi respectively; also three grandchildren, Genevieve, Michael and Craig; granddaughter-in-law, Violet, and one great-grandchild, Jacqueline. A visitation will be held at Johnson Mortuary on Friday, November 20, 2009 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Funeral services will take place at First United Methodist Church on Saturday, November 21, 2009at 10:00 a.m. Interment following at Desert Lawn Memorial Park. Memorial contributions may be sent to: Alzheimer’s Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave SL17, Chicago, IL. 60601 Please sign the guestbook at www.yumasun.com/obituaries.
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