Fay Conlee Oliver was born in Jackson, Mississippi in 1927, to Verna and Clifton Conlee. She died peacefully in her home with her family gathered around her on December 2, 2018. Fay was the second of four girls, with whom she enjoyed close relationships all her life. She played the cornet, and went to college on a music scholarship. She graduated with a B.A. in English from Millsaps College in 1949, and later obtained her teaching certificate. She taught English in New Albany, MS, before answering an ad to teach in the “Golden West.” A natural adventuress, she left all her friends and family in her early twenties, moving to Erie, Colorado, where she continued to teach English. Having made a promise to God when she was a child, she then attended graduate school at Berkeley Baptist Divinity School (now American Baptist Divinity School of the West), earning her Master’s in Christian Education in 1955.
In Berkeley, CA, Fay met Earl Davis Oliver, and the couple married in 1960. They lived for several years in New Mexico and Colorado before moving back to the Bay Area. The family, including children Mike, Ann, and April, settled in Los Altos. Fay worked as the Director of Christian Education at several UCC churches in the Bay Area, including San Jose First Congregational, Woodside Village Church, and Foothills Congregational Church in Los Altos. She was a student and teacher of meditation from the early 1970’s, bringing the wisdom of this contemplative practice to many through her 1976 book, Christian Growth Through Meditation. Over the decades she led countless workshops and classes on meditation and spiritual growth. Fay was an avid reader, and enjoyed tennis, skiing, travelling, writing, spending time with her family, and being active in her church. She is most remembered for her generous spirit and infectious laugh. She brought warmth, humor, and equanimity to every gathering. She will be dearly missed by all who knew her. Fay is survived by her sister Clif (Hal) Boyd, son Mike (Barbara) Oliver, daughters Ann (Dean) Graybill and April Oliver, and grandchildren Conlee (16) and Eli (13) Graybill, as well as her beloved nieces, nephews, and sisters-in-law. A celebration of her life will be held on January 19. Please contact the family or the church for details. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Foothills Congregational Church (Los Altos, CA), Heifer International (heifer.org), or Alzheimer's Association (alz.org).