Obituary: Michael W. Fay

Michael W Fay, 82, died October 15, 2017 at Pomona Valley Hospital, in Pomona, California following a brief illness. His loving family was by his side. 

Mr. Fay was born August 17, 1935 to Kenyon T. Fay and Edith Thornton Fay of Los Angeles. He graduated from Flintridge Preparatory School in La Canada, California, in 1953, and Claremont’s Pomona College, in 1957.

He was a passionate traditional jazz musician, whose love of music came from playing with his father. He joined the legendary El Dorado Jazz Band in the early 1960s, and over the years toured the world with many bands, playing with just about every notable musician on the West Coast’s traditional jazz scene.

Mr. Fay was an integral part of such groups as the 12th St. Mini Band, Billy and His Bachelors, The Golden Eagles, Gremoli, Tom Sharpsteen’s Orlandos, South Frisco, Grande Dominion, Chet Yeager’s Christmas Brass Band, and the Baldy Mountain Jazz Band, which plays regularly at The Press in Claremont. He was also a major influence on younger musicians, with whom he shared his enthusiasm and love of music, and jazz in particular. 

Mr. Fay’s day job as a parts manager included time with various manufacturing companies, including Claremont’s H.L Stoker Co., the Durant Corporation and WPM Systems.

He leaves behind his wife of 60 years, Joanna C. Fay; sister Cynthia Fay de Maura, of New York City; daughters Whitney (Erik) Long, of Arlington, Virginia, Ashley (James) Taylor, of Imperial, California, son Ben (Liz) Fay, of Claremont; grandchildren Alisa Taylor, Blue Fay and Sienna Fay; and his beloved dog, Etta. 

A private memorial will be held. In lieu of flowers, donations in Mr. Fay’s name may be made to Sacramento Traditional Jazz Foundation at, Bay Area jazz radio station KCSM at, or the Jazz Foundation of America at


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