Shirley Gay Dawley

Shirley Dawley

Gay was born in Olympia, Washington, to Owen John and Lillie Bell Williams. Her girlhood years were spent in Olympia where she graduated from Olympia HS in 1946. She graduated from the University of Oregon School of Music in 1950, and boy did she love her Ducks! She married her high school sweetheart Robert (Bob) Dawley of Olympia in 1950 and they had two sons, Doug and Gregg.

Gay’s passions were teaching and performing music. She taught elementary music in the Selah public schools for over 18 years, donating her time to a special boys glee club, The Starlighters. For 25 years she was first clarinetist in the Yakima Symphony Orchestra, and went on to play in the Yakima Community Band until 2015. She was a long-standing member of St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church and Delta Gamma Sorority.

Gay’s marriage to Bob, a Yakima architect, ended after 31 years in 1981 with his sudden death. They were Yakima residents together for 25 years. She married Frank A. Phillips of Calgary, Canada in July 1984. Their 20 years of marriage were spent happily shuttling between Yakima, Calgary and Maui. They also shared many amazing trips around the world. Frank died in 2004.

Hale Pau Hana in Kihei, Maui, was a very special place for Gay. It was her home away from home with Bob, and particularly Frank. On the grass lanai overlooking the beach and ocean to the east, Gay was renowned for blowing her conch shell at sunset, as well as engaging all her grandchildren in a rousing rendition of “If I were a Pilgrim” at Thanksgiving.

Gay is survived by her two sons and their spouses, Douglas (Paula) and Gregg (Kris), and five grandchildren, Lia, Ella, Will, Clara, and Emma. She is also survived by Frank’s children, Alice (Mike), Frances (Stephen), Tom (Susan), Robert (Melissa), and their nine children, Rob, Mary, Patrick, Laura, Rachel, Blair, Martha, Ian and Graham, who were all very dear to Gay.

Memorials may be made in lieu of flowers and in her name to St. Timothy’s Church, the Yakima Community Band, the Yakima Symphony Orchestra, or to your favorite charity. A memorial service will be held at Noon on Saturday, December 2 at St. Timothy’s Church.