It is with profound sadness we share the passing of one of God’s angels on earth, Laurie Donette McVay. Donette died at UAB Hospital on Nov. 7, 2021, from procedure complications related to lung problems. She was 72 years old.
Donette was born on Sept.19, 1949 to Donnie and Annie Kellam and spent most of her young adult life in the Robertsdale/Orange Beach area. She always talked about those happy memories, and most summers spent long vacations there with her children and husband, making wonderful new memories.
Donette met the love of her life, Charles McVay, at the office where she was a dental hygienist – and soon after, she became Mrs. Charles McVay. They were married 48 years and did everything together; no two people loved each other more and watching them cut up together was amazing and funny and wonderful. They lived between Montgomery, Wetumpka, and Ozark before settling in the Dothan/Newton area.
Donette was so talented and had many interests and jobs over her lifetime. She owned her own daycare and worked at Headstart along the way. She was a self taught and incredibly talented artist. She painted, hand crafted jewelry, did interior design for clients, sewed and smocked, taught art classes at studios and art shops, and made more different types of art projects than there is room to list. She was featured in Better Homes and Gardens magazine years ago for tile painting and kiln work she did. Her talent was without end and she has instilled that love and creative thinking into her children and grandchildren to endless degrees.
Donette and Charles have three daughters who will always know that the sun rises and sets in their amazing Mama; Renn Furlow, Lindsey Moore, and Breezy Taylor; two sons-in-law she loved just like her own boys and who felt the same for her, Dean Moore and Ainsley Taylor; and two precious granddaughters that loved her like their second Mama, their “Memi,” Breeley and Blakeley Taylor. Also surviving her are two special aunts, Charlotte Reeder and Mary Ann Wells; sister Millie Batts; sister-in-law Grace Kellam; brother-in-law Steve Colley (Lynn); a close cousin Kay Rubira; and several loved nieces and nephews including Kristina Kellam, Magee Patton (Josh), Mallory Walker (Drew), Tysha Batts, Stephen Colley and Brandon Batts, and many special great nieces; great nephews; and cousins. She had precious friends and relatives she saw or talked to often and loved very deeply. She is also very affectionately known as the community “Memi” to so many as she was the classroom grandmother through all of Breeley’s young years, and she touched the lives of so many other children and families in that way as well. She asked for so little, but gave so much to so many.
She loved to do so many things: finding “treasures” at yard and antique and estate sales, fishing, riding in the golf cart when Charles golfed, road trips to explore, playing the slot machines at the casino until her little fingers were silver, cooking and trying new restaurants, watching golf and her Alabama football with Charles and their friends, and so much more. And making the most magical world for the grand girls - geocaching, the strawberry patch, the library, hunting bugs and four leaf clovers, making them fairy houses, family trips, never missing school functions or extracurricular activities, and endless pictures... she was their biggest cheerleader, and her imagination knew no boundaries for them. She loved life, and it loved her right back.
Donette was preceded in death by her beloved sister and brother, Pam Colley and Morris “Bubba” Kellam; her parents Donnie Kellam, Annie Pittman and John “Pitt” Pittman; and many special relatives who we know were joyously waiting at those gates for her when she arrived.
The immense grief we feel at her physical absence is beyond explanation, but we know she is with us still. The loss is immeasurable, but so is the love she left behind. As Charles said, she was the glue and the matriarch of this family and is the reason our love for each other is so strong. Donette was such a fighter; she made struggle look beautiful, made strong look invincible, and carried the universe for us and made it look as light as angel’s wings. She was always our angel, always our sunshine, and she always will be.
At Donette’s request, a small memorial service will be held in the coming weeks and will be announced prior to that time, and will be followed by a celebration of her life after the New Year. If anyone would like to be notified personally or reach out to the family, please contact Lindsey at (334) 714-3468.
Ward Wilson Funeral Home, 2414 Hartford Highway, Dothan, AL 36305, (334) 792-4194