Charlene Gay Hunter Baird, beloved wife, sister, mother, and Nana passed away peacefully on December 8, 2022 from Alzheimer’s/Dementia complications. She was 72 years old.
Gay was born in Cedar City, Utah on December 14, 1949, to parents Robert Haze and Betty Jean Benward Hunter. She was the second of four children. Gay spent her youth in Cedar City and had fond memories of climbing trees, riding her horse, and helping her mother and father on the farm and at their family-owned furniture store (Northeast Furniture). She had numerous friends in high school and enjoyed her lifelong association with them. Gay met her lifelong sweetheart and partner, Phillip Craig Baird, while attending Cedar City High School and they married in the St. George Temple after her sophomore year of attending Brigham Young University.
Phil and Gay moved to Kanab when Gay’s father asked if they would be willing to manage a furniture store he planned on opening there. They fell in love with the area, and the people, and remained to raise their four children. They eventually purchased Kanab Furniture from her father and owned it until their retirement in 2020.
Gay was actively involved with her church and community and was always willing to lend a helping hand when asked. She enthusiastically accepted numerous church and civic positions over the years, and she was a joy to work with. Some of those positions included Stake Relief Society President, PTA President, and serving on the KHS Boosters Club. Remember when the Christmas lights on Main Street got a much-needed facelift in the late 1980s? She led the fundraising effort to make that happen, all while perfectly balancing family, work and life.
Gay enjoyed traveling with her family, either on vacations or on the many cross-country trips with Phil when they owned their moving company. She loved crocheting baby blankets (which she gave as gifts), sprucing up her flower beds, mowing her lawn, and going on drink runs with her many friends. Gay and Susan Little could often be found in one of their vehicles, chatting-away for what their children would describe as “HOURS!”, even though they would claim it was only a “few minutes”.
Gay had a sincere love for her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and was a devoted member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She cheerfully put forth her best effort in the many positions she held over the years. She was involved in Cub Scouts and Young Women’s, and particularly enjoyed being a Primary President and Nursery Leader. Her love of the youth of the Kanab community was infectious, and she especially found great joy in spending time with the little ones as they learned and discovered new things.
Gay is survived by her loving husband Phil and her children: Craig (Jill) Baird of Kanab, Utah, Tiffany (Danny) Cox of Bluffton, South Carolina, Kresta (Kevin) Blomquist of Kanab, Utah, and Charee (Nathan) Shepherd of Kanab, Utah. Also survived by her 17 grandchildren, 2 ½ great grandchildren and her siblings: Danna (Garth) Jones, Kim (Terri) Hunter, and Steve (Kathy) Hunter. She was preceded in death and welcomed home by her parents, Robert Haze and Betty Jean Hunter.
Funeral services will be held on Thursday, December 15, 2022 at 12:00pm at the Kanab South Chapel, 604 S. 100 E. Kanab, UT. A viewing for the public will be held on the same date and at the same location at 11:00am.
The family wishes to thank Susan Little for her countless hours of devotion and help as well as the wonderful caregivers that have assisted in Gay’s care over the last year including Nurse and family friend Holly Houston.
A video link to watch the services can be accessed about 11:45 AM. If you have difficulties accessing the feed, please call Mosdell Mortuary at 435-644-2214.
I have enjoyed knowing Gay over the years since my daughter Jill married her son Craig. We were fast friends and said if we lived closer we knew we would have been good friends. She was such a fun and happy lady and I really enjoyed visiting with both her and Phil over the years. She will truly be missed by all who knew and loved her.
Dear Phil and Baird family,
We were saddened to hear of the loss of your dear wife, mother, and grandmother. We knew Gay in Cedar City, attending the same high school together. I remember when I was quite young, practicing a piano duet together at her beautiful home on the Leigh Hill. Gay was such a nice person. What a full, dedicated, and serviceable life she lived. We want you to know of our love and sympathy. You are in our thoughts and prayers at this most difficult time.
Love, Lee and Colleen S. Fife
Gay got me involved in the ward Primary organization, which meant more involvement in the church. I am eternally grateful for the influence of both Gay and Phil in my life.
I will forever remember Gay for her amazing hugs and her famous quote: “Hey you!” She always made me feel welcome in Kanab when visiting Dad, Step Mom, and brothers. Thank you for everything. Love you Grandma Gay