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Fay E. (Cox) Smith

September 26, 1928 ~ January 5, 2019 (age 90)

Of Kalamazoo

Fay E. Smith, age 90, died quickly and peacefully at her residence in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on January 5, 2019.

She was born September 26, 1928 in East Grand Rapids, MI, the daughter of the late David and Azella (MacKown) Cox. She married Floyd S. Smith in Grand Rapids, MI on August 21, 1965.

Fay was preceded in death by her husband Floyd (sharing 43 years) on December 16, 2008, her parents, and by her brother David Cox, Jr. in 1999. Surviving are her two daughters Randy S. Command and Margo E. (Jeff) Command-Heyman; a brother, Preston L. Cox; step-sons Robert and John Smith (Floyd's sons); grandsons Joel R. Babrick, and Aaron M. Gifford (Marie Hockey) and their children; her nephew, David (Michelle) Cox and their two daughters Addysen and Emery; God-daughters Jennifer, Heather and Christina, through her late foster daughter Diane Canavan (Brad) Smith.

She attended Hillsdale College, Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo College, and received her Bachelor's and Master's Degree in Vocal and Music Theory. Music and performing were her life. Fay was a member of the former Old Music Society, and the Bach Chorus. She and husband Floyd were the founding members of the Kalamazoo Singers. She participated in many, many musical and theatrical events over her lifetime, including several seasons of summer stock theater, Opera Grand Rapids, and performed on the Sarasota stage, and the Kalamazoo Civic Theater stage numerous times, among others. She was a well-known and highly respected Southwest Michigan voice teacher for more than 50 years, continuing to teach until the end. She was a longtime member of the People's Church. She co-wrote, with her husband Floyd, three musicals for the church.

Fay was a powerful woman with a surpassing sense of self. She had an opinion and was not shy to share. She possessed an intuitive knowledge of singing which often resulted in exceptional performances. Her power will not be quickly dismissed nor will her cutting edge methods be lost in time.

Fay travelled the world with her soul-mate, Floyd, seeing sights most could only wish to see, even being blessed by the Pope. Being a person of healthy heart, she enjoyed vegetable gardening. She was very active in social work, often volunteering with Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes, because she believed no one should go hungry. She also contributed to many other charities throughout the world.

In accordance with Fay's wishes, she is being cremated. A tree will be planted in the People's Church Memorial Garden next to her husband's and her ashes will be scattered there at a later date.

A Celebration of Fay's Life will be held on February 9th at the People's Church (1758 North 10th Street) as well as a more formal celebration at another location - details to follow. Memorials in her memory may be directed to Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes, the People's Church, Kalamazoo Bach Festival Chorus, or the Kalamazoo Singers.

If you wish to participate in the Celebration as a singer, performer, speaker, general, or any other creative positions, please contact her daughter Margo Command-Heyman at

Fay would very much like to go out with a bang! as we all know so well. We love you Fay! Your memory lives on!!

Please visit and sign Fay's personalized guest book at

Donations may be made to:

People's Church
1758 N. 10th St., Kalamazoo MI 49009
Tel: 269-375-3262

Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes
901 Portage St., Kalamazoo MI 49001
Tel: 2694882617

Kalamazoo Singers
P.O. Box 2712, Kalamazoo MI 49003
Tel: 2693731769

Kalamazoo Bach Festival Chorus
1200 Academy Street, Kalamazoo MI 49006
Tel: 2693377407

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