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Thomas L. Fay
February 20, 1930 ~ February 2, 2024 (age 93) 93 Years Old
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Thomas L. Fay, 93 of Avon, formerly, Normal, Illinois, passed away Friday morning at Traditions at Reagan Park Senior Living in Avon. He was born February 20, 1930, and was the son of the late Thomas Fay and Lela (Gravett) Loy. In addition to his parents Tom is preceded in death by his wife of almost 60 years, Patty Fay, brother, Peter Fay and sister, Rhoda Selden.
Tom was born in Joliet, Illinois during the Great Depression, his father had immigrated from Greece and met his mother, Lela from Bloomington, Illinois, together they had 3 children, Tom was the baby of the family. After his father passed away his mother moved with her children back to Bloomington, IL. With the help of The Baby Fold, still in operation today, Tom received critical childhood resources while his mother worked hard to keep the family together. Despite a challenging upbringing, Tom remained very close with his mother, and never had a bad word to say about anything, as his family shared, “He was the nicest guy you’d ever want to meet.”
Tom got to work at an early age. In high school he enjoyed carpentry and physical labor and found work as a farm hand. He graduated from Atlanta High School in Atlanta, Illinois, then was drafted into the United States Army. He proudly served his country during the Korean War, stationed in Germany, until an injury released him from duty and brought him home. Once home he married Patty Fones Fay on October 9, 1954, in Atlanta, Illinois. They were together for 61 years before her passing in 2016.
Tom and Patty were longtime residents of Lafayette, Indiana, both working for State Farm Insurance. Tom had a sincere and grateful demeanor and often found himself as the peaceful negotiator for State Farm when clients needed reassurance. He worked in data processing before retiring as an insurance underwriter. In his retirement he and Patty vacationed in the warm weather of Florida and Las Vegas. He enjoyed playing cards, Poker, Bridge and going bowling. He was always up for an adventure, whether on foot just going for a walk or heading out on a long Sunday drive. He was very handy and could fix almost anything. He enjoyed carpentry and woodworking and had finished many projects for the family, including basements, fences, and playsets for the grandchildren. Tom had a big heart and was very sentimental when it came to animals, particularly the cats in the family. He enjoyed playing golf and watching sports. The family will miss spending time with Tom on Thursday’s Bingo Night at the Legion, Friday nights when they’d all go out to eat, and Sunday family-time.
Tom took a brave leap of faith when he travelled alone to Athens, Greece in 1999 in an attempt to find his father's family, without any names or contact information for them at all. He wrote a journal of his trip and noted that he attempted to locate any family members by reaching out to TV stations and newspapers, all with a significant language barrier. He had received some phone numbers of potential family, but hadn't gotten any response from them. On the day he was to return to the US, George, the bell boy in the hotel where he had been staying -- who had been helping him all along -- got a response from a friend of a cousin, and by 4pm that evening, a large group of Tom's Greek family had assembled, including an aunt and some cousins, to meet their relative from the US. Tom and Patty returned there at a later time and got to meet many more Greek relatives.
Tom leaves behind his four children, Lori (Jim) Dieter, Mark (Leanne) Fay, Pete (DeAnne) Fay, and Scott Fay; 9 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. Also missing Tom are many extended family members.
He will be cremated and placed in the Columbarium next to his wife in the Funk Grove Cemetery, McLean, IL. later this Spring. Online condolences may be offered at www.heltonharrisfuneralhomes.com.