The long lively adventurous life of Lecile May (Tootie) Billedeaux Jay ended peacefully at home on January 28, 2022 surrounded by her children and husband of 70 years, Donald Jay. With her passing the world lost one of the most beautiful and loving souls whose spirit will remain with us forever.
She was born in Kalama, WA on November 16, 1934 to Charlie and Mable Billedeaux. Tootie was an enrolled tribal member of the Blackfeet Tribal Nation of Montana.
During her high school years at Kalama High School, Tootie was a member of the cheerleading squad, secretary for her high school class, and she was named the Strawberry Princess for the Kalama Strawberry Festival in 1951.
Upon graduation from high school, Tootie married Donald Jay in May of 1952. They had four wonderful children. During their 70 years of marriage, the Jay family lived in Portland and Newport, OR and moved back to Portland where they spent 18 wonderful years living on the Columbia River in a houseboat, which enabled them to be able to park their boat next to the house. They were able to take their boat to downtown Portland. While on the Columbia River, Tootie hosted several CEO’s of major financial and insurance companies, the swim float was the perfect setting for these dinner events. Upon retirement they reluctantly left the river and moved to Florence, OR, finally settling in Depoe Bay, OR to be close their children.
During their years in Portland, Don and Tootie were avid square dancers. They attended State and National Square Dancing Festivals and they appeared on local television stations with their square dance troupe. Tootie wore out more than one pair of square dance slippers, sometimes dancing all night long.
She was a partner, board member, and an awesome executive secretary in the family business. She managed office staff and oversaw a payroll of over a million dollars. On one of her adventures she took the office secretaries to a training school in Miami, FL, then through the Florida Keys all the way to Key West, the southern most point of the U.S. She received many business accolades for her excellent work as an Executive Secretary. She was smart, witty, well read, opinionated, beautiful, and she did not suffer fools. If family, friends, and business colleagues were to agree on one word that would describe Tootie, it would be amazing.
Tootie was a founding member of CADET, a company that manufactured electric heating products. The D and T in Cadet stands for Don and Tootie.
Throughout their years in business, the Jays were able to travel extensively to many foreign countries and numerous outstanding resorts. During the 60’s they traveled to Acapulco and Mexico City. In the 70’s to Ireland, England, St Thomas, Hawaii, and went on a Caribbean Cruise. For the 80’s they went to New Zealand, Canada, Acapulco, Cancun, Belgium, and Hawaii. In the 90’s they traveled to Australia, and again to St Thomas and the Virgin Islands with another trip to Hawaii, Canada, and Mexico.
Some of the resorts that she attended are Tan-Tar-A at the Lake of the Ozarks, LA Costa Resort in California, Sun Valley Idaho, del Coronado in San Diego, The Fountain Blue Hotel in Miami Beach, FL as well as Palm Beach and Key West. She traveled to most major cities in the United States and Canada. In 2005 she was able to take one of her favorite trips, which was a 12-day See America by Rail. The train left Albany, OR and went to Branson, Missouri. She also went to Nashville, TN where she was able to attend the Grand Ole Opry as this was a place she always wanted to go as she loved country music. One special bucket list completed.
Tootie had a very full bucket list and she was able to complete most of it. For example, she snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Kissed the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle, where she was on her back suspended 60’ over the ground in County Cork, Ireland; standing in the water at Paileria Bay in New Zealand on Waitangi days with the Native Maori people launching their 100 man of war canoe; playing with the band in Acapulco, Mexico and eating hog jowls that are considered a specialty food. She also ate kangaroo with the Aborigines in the Outback of Australia. While in the Virgin Islands, she was personally invited to a private tour aboard one of America’s most famous aircraft carrier, the USS Kitty Hawk, which had just returned form the Desert Storm War. She attempted to surf on Waikiki Beach which didn’t go too well, but also snorkeled in Kauai and Cancun, Mexico which went very well. She was able to spend a Saturday night walking down the middle of Bourbon Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans with a hurricane in her hand surrounded by other revelers. While in the Virgin Islands, Tootie and her husband were able to spend several days with Gaylord Perry, one of the greatest baseball pitchers who is in the Baseball Hall of Fame, and while on a camping trip with her family, they met and had dinner with the Surgeon General of Sweden who had just returned from the United Nations.
Tootie also had the pleasure of out fishing Don on every turn, from catching a 42 pound Chinook and 26 at Walleye Pike on Roosevelt Lake in Washington State. She also had a salmon jump into her boat! Tootie also knocked them dead by out fishing the men on a charter off of Palm Beach, FL.
During her retirement years in Depoe Bay, Tootie was happy to be able to spend more time with her family and friends. She touched all with warmth, love and welcome; Tootie was a true giving wife, mother, sister, grandmother, great grandmother, and great great grandmother. The family is overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and affection from everyone who knew her. Tootie’s enduring impact will certainly be in how deeply connected she was with love and care she had for her family.
Tootie was preceded in death by her parents, Charlie and Mabel Billedeaux, brothers Chuck and Don Billedeaux, and her grandson, Stephen Fox.
She will be greatly missed by her husband of 70 years, Donald Jay; daughters Lori (Jerry) Jay-Linstrom, Trudy (Paul) Fox, and Ellen O’Malley; her son Donald (Lynette) Jay Jr; her sister, Lois Grooms; brother and sister in-law Dan and Sharon Billedeaux, as well as 11 grandchildren, 15 great grandchildren, and one great great grandchild.
A celebration of life will be held on March 6, 2022 from 1-4pm at the American Legion in Newport.