Aila Fay Zens

October 2, 1941 – November 15, 2021
Fay was a caring sister, wife, mother, grandmother, teacher, and faithful friend. She passed away after a long battle with dementia on Monday, November 15th, 2021 at the age of 80.
Fay never forgot her roots as a farm girl on the Manitoba prairie near Elgin, where she was raised to understand the effort and commitment it took to produce wholesome food from the soil. She went on to finer things at Balmoral Hall School in Winnipeg, before studying Interior Design and Education at the University of Manitoba. In her first kindergarten
posting after school at Canadian Forces Base Shilo (1963), she met civilian dentist Fritz Zens, and they eventually moved to a small house on the shores of Sproat Lake outside Port Alberni, BC. There she built a full life and raised her children Scot, Megan, and Carmen.
Everything Fay touched turned to art. Born out of necessity on the prairie, her fingers first met reused fabrics and transformed them into beautiful and functional clothing for her family. But something exhilarating happened when she worked with cloth, and that spark of expression she would explore throughout her whole adult life. She collected textiles from around the world. She joined the local weaving guild and after a time taught weaving classes in Port Alberni and Parksville. In midlife, she enrolled as fulltime student at Emily Carr University, exercising her painting, drawing, and composition skills. She developed a successful art business combining fabrics of all types with recycled materials and maintained a stall at the Granville Island Market in Vancouver. But really, in every act, even things as regular as setting the table for a meal, she brought an attention to detail and a creativity that lit up our lives with a palette of color and lightness that didn’t exist anywhere else.
Fay shared that kitchen table light with all who came near her door. No matter if it was the fairest of days or the foulest of storms, she would greet you with a wide smile and invite you into warmth and laughter, scrumptious food, a listening ear, and buckets of encouragement. Fay brought joy into the lives of so many. She is survived by her loving husband Fritz Zens, her children Carmen Dyer (Jack Dyer), Megan Duarte, and Scot Zens, her grandchildren, Hallie, Marian, Abby, Gabe, Emerson, and Rose, her brother Laurie Sadler, and many other relatives and dear friends in Canada and the United States. In lieu of flowers or charitable donations, Fay would want you to engage in conversation with your local shopkeepers, visit an art festival, or take a friend to lunch. Obituary


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