Mrs. Fay Ann McClendon Newell — 1915-2019

Published 9:14 pm Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Mrs. Fay Ann McClendon Newell, 104, of Opelika and Waverly, died on Oct. 6.

Born on the McClendon family farm two miles north of LaFayette, on June 20, 1915, she was the youngest child of seven children and only daughter of Woodson V. and Alice Rowland McClendon. Both sets of grandparents were early settlers of Chambers County. Her mother’s father, former Chambers County Probate Judge Peter M. Rowland, came from Virginia in 1845 and established himself at Fredonia.

Fay graduated from LaFayette High School, class of 1933, and was the last surviving member of her class. Her career goal was to become an attorney, but this avenue of vocation was not the norm for young women during that time. In 1938, she graduated from API (Auburn University) with a degree in education. She began her teaching career with third-grade students at Five Points. From there, she went to Sand Mountain and taught for several years. 

Email newsletter signup

In 1940, Fay McClendon and Herbert E. Newell were married in LaFayette, a happy marriage that lasted 64 years. The Newells moved to Hilton Village, Virginia, where Herbert, an electrical engineer, worked in the shipyard in Newport News, Virginia during WWII. With Herbert’s career, the family made several moves before finally settling in Daytona Beach, Florida and the Newell family farm in Waverly.

During this time, Fay also taught at Daytona Beach and Auburn Middle School. Also in Daytona, she was the owner of Wee Wisdom Kindergarten and summer director of YMCA Camp Winona. Amid a busy career, Fay and Herbert were the parents of five lively children. The Newells attended First Methodist Church of Daytona Beach. 

Fay was an avid traveler, both national and international, and traveled to Italy when she was in her mid-90s. Most recently she enjoyed a week-long motor home trip to various points in Florida, returning to her home only a week before she died. She followed national politics daily and kept well informed on current events important to our country. Before her eyesight failed, she read constantly, her favorite author being Zane Grey.

Fay is survived by three daughters, Fay Newton, of LaFayette, Dr. Dawn “Boo” Newell, of Clarkston, Georgia, and Dr. Bliss (Dr. Tom) Johnson, of Metairie, Louisiana; two sons, Esley Newell, of Auburn, and Tim (Debbie) Newell, of South Daytona, Florida; 10 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren; and two special family friends, Beth Sullivan and Joyce Haralson. She is preceded in death by her husband, Herbert Esley Newell; granddaughter, Leah Newell; and great-granddaughter, Josephine Newton.

Funeral services will be held on Oct. 13, at 1 p.m with visitation before the service at the Newell Family Farm near Waverly. Interment will follow at the Newell Family Cemetery. Fay would be delighted for her family and friends to dress casual and wear tennis shoes. In lieu of flowers and in honor of Fay’s love for animals and her Chihuahua “Shug,” any memorial gifts are suggested to Woof Ave., 1027 Opelika Rd in Auburn 36830.

Jeff Jones Funeral Home, LaFayette, in charge of arrangements.