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Monte Chris Fay

December 5, 1935 April 2, 2021
Monte Chris Fay
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Obituary for Monte Chris Fay

Monte Chris Fay was born on December 5th, 1935, in Wadena, Iowa, the first son of John and Opal ( Dummermuth ) Fay.  He was followed by a sister Sharroll and a brother Douglas. 

Monte was always a standout athlete for Fayette High School.  He starred in football, baseball and track & field, at one time he even held the Iowa state record for the discus.  He even played varsity basketball … although he raised a family of four wrestling sons at St. Croix Falls!  But he would tell you his greatest accomplishment while at Fayette was winning the heart and hand of his true love, Jean Harlo Davis.  He played Prince Charming to her Sleeping Beauty while they were both in Kindergarten. If there is such a thing as soulmates, they certainly were. Monte and Harlo were married April 10th, 1955, in the world famous Little Brown Church in Nashua, Iowa.  In addition to raising a wonderful family of five talented children Harlo also served as Monte’s proof-reader, although he was very intelligent Monte was never much of a speller, as evidenced by the dozens of love letters he sent to his “sweetheart !”  She would remain so for sixty years.

He starred for the Upper Iowa Peacocks, his hometown university, playing both college football and baseball. He was held in such high regard by his teammates, as a center and long-snapper, that he was twice selected to be team captain.  His prowess on the baseball diamond, as an All-conference catcher, might have been even more impressive.  For many years he held several Peacock home-run and hitting records. 

He then became a life-long educator, coach and administrator.  In Calmar, Iowa he led two undefeated teams to “mythical” state championships.  Then he picked up his family and moved to Boyceville, Wisconsin, crossing the old 90° corner Wabasha bridge driving a semi in the dead of night, hauling no small amount of illegal margarine into the dairy state, color dye included !  While he was a Boyceville Bulldog he had yet another undefeated season as the Varsity Football coach and guidance counselor.

While coaching and teaching were passions, he found his true calling when he got his Masters in Guidance Counseling. After a year as a guidance counselor in Richland Center, Wisconsin he found his ideal job and “forever home” in 1968 when his friend Merwin Moen recruited the Fay family to come to St. Croix Falls, where he became the sometimes feared but always admired high school principal of three generations of St. Croix Falls Saints, retiring in 1994 !  

Monte or “Mod” or even “Muck” as he was always known to his friends traveled extensively during his life: at ten to the National Boy Scout Jamboree in Washington, D.C., to Iowa Boy’s State in high school, camping as a naturalist around the continent, canoeing dozens of Midwestern Rivers … he loved the Nemekagon rapids. He enjoyed both hunting and fishing … shout-out to the Clam Lake Hunting, Fishing, Singing and Drinking Society.  He also loved golfing with his buddies.  His travels took him to principal’s conferences all over the United States. He coordinated and ran a WI-Wales, UK student and staff exchange for decades.  He also shared his travel bug with his family as they camped Route 66 on their way to California, drove “Harv”, his faithful RV to Alaska, drove a modified camper van to his Mexican ranch and flew to Europe. He and Harlo later bought a Park Model home in Mercedes, Texas and avoided the Wisconsin blizzards by becoming Winter Texans during the worst of it “up North” for many years.  But even while living in Texas Monte always proudly displayed his love of the Packers.

Monte and Harlo returned to Wisconsin when Harlo’s health took a turn for the worse. Sadly she left us on September 3rd, 2015 due to cancer.  Monte was also preceded in death by his beloved parents, his brother, Dr. Douglas Fay and his youngest son Michael, who died in 1995.  Monte had several neurological episodes, possible TIA strokes over the next few years, and was diagnosed with early onset Vascular Dementia in 2019. 

On April 1st, 2021, April Fools Day, he passed away peacefully with most of his family in attendance. He left three loving sons, Greg, Garry ( Poly ), and Mitchell aka “Bucky” !  He also left his only daughter Melani and five grandchildren, Jesi, Zach, Zoe, Maia and Leo and five great-grandchildren, with another one due in September.  Mod also left hundreds of friends scattered all over the upper St. Croix Valley. 

Monte Chris Fay radiated an illuminating light over the whole SCF community for many, many years !  He positively influenced thousands of young adults to become the best versions of themselves. That might have been his proudest accomplishment as a life-long educator: not the fantastic coaching successes he enjoyed, but the success that generations of Saints experienced because of him and his larger-than-life overpowering positive attitude.  He adored his wife and family, but he also truly loved the city and residents of St. Croix Falls.

Because of Covid-19 restrictions the family is hoping to do a public celebration of his life at the SCF football stadium or the HS gymnasium sometime later this summer. (May 1st ?) 

Many families choose to use a favorite photo of the deceased as a younger, “idealized” person, but Monte always felt himself at his best in the presence of Jean Harlo, his forever “sweat-heart” … so that is how we choose to remember him.

You are invited to leave condolences, memories and photos at www.rowefh.com.  Arrangements are entrusted to Rowe Funeral Home, 715-472-2444 and the Northwest Wisconsin Cremation Center in Milltown, www.wicremationcenter.com.

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