LaFarrest Cleophus Gay was born to Q.T. and Ella Mae Gay on December 23, 1952 in Tullahasse, Oklahoma and died September 27 in Richland, Washington due to injuries sustained on a fishing trip. He was the 9th child born to Q.T. and Ella in a family of 13. LaFarrest attended Carter G. Woodson grade school in Tullahasse until 1965 when the family moved to Portland, Oregon. LaFarrest attended Benson High School where he played basketball. He had a mean jumper -- ask anyone. He graduated from Benson with honors and was heavily recruited to work for Xerox, where he stayed for a number of years.
LA met Diahanna Roach in 1969. In 1971 they had their first child DeMika Gay, and 14 years later they had their son, D’Wan Gay.
LA was raised by a mother who loved and served the Lord. The house motto was “As long as you live under my roof, attending church is mandatory.” LA attended Pinkard Chapel C.M.E. Church in Oklahoma, where he sang in the church choir, which consisted of all his sisters and brothers. The family united with Allen Temple C.M.E. Church in Portland, Oregon. He later became a member of Bethel A.M.E. Church, Portland, Oregon, where he proudly served as head usher.
We all affectionately called him LA. He was a loveable and giving person, people gravitated toward him. LA had a protective spirit. He protected those he loved with his life. He once went to his daughters’ school to defend her honor, how admirable.
LA started a new career later in life as an over the road truck driver, and bought his own truck. He drove for many years before he retired. LA was an avid fisherman, he could find spots to fish where there were none. He was also a pool shark, domino wizard and an exceptional cook. LA lost his life doing what he loved-fishing.
LA leaves to celebrate his life: mother Ella Mae Gay, Portland, Or.; daughter DeMika Gay; son D’Wan Gay; grandson Ricardo Elie, and mother of his children, Diahanna Gay, all in Atlanta, GA. His sisters were Vivian Snoddy (Bill), Tulsa, Oklahoma;Gloria Buggs (Q.L. deceased), Portland, Oregon; Glenda Johnson (Mark), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Beverly Sails, Portland, Oregon; Torsha McKinney (Leonard), Seattle, Washington; Marina Butler (Raymond), Tacoma, Washington; Sonja Freeman, Portland, Oregon; Wende Gay, Portland, Oregon; Latanya Jenkins; Portland, Oregon. His brothers were Calvin Gay (Shara, fiancé), Portland, Oregon; Nehoma Gay, Portland, Oregon; Lionel Gay, Portland, Oregon; L.C. Gay (Bev), Portland, Oregon. He is also survived by Lexoni Downing, who affectionately called him “dad,” and a host of nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Oct. 14, at Bethel AME, 5828 NE 8th.