Joanne Frye Nay

Date of Birth

December 2, 1935

Date of Death

January 13, 2019

Joanne Frye Nay passed away early in her eighty-fourth year from complications of dementia.

She was the oldest of four children of Albert and Ruby Frye, born in Los Angeles and educated initially in La Habra and then at Stanford. Following a junior year in Berlin, she graduated in 1958, the first female student to obtain a degree in industrial engineering at Stanford. The following year she married Paul Nay. Over the subsequent years she maintained a growing family, and was employed as an industrial engineer at Ampex and then at Josten’s in Porterville, California where she had increasing responsibilities and ultimately become chief engineer. Both she and her husband, a psychology professor at Porterville College, retired in 1997 and then moved to Santa Barbara, joining the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara in 2000, where Joanne served on the church board for several years. She also found a new talent through Santa Barbara City College, turning out a number of fused-glass works.

Her interests ranged widely throughout her life, encompassing multicultural activities especially involving women, not only in her professional field as a member of the Society of Women Engineers but in more distant areas, through travels and Earthwatch expeditions. While in Porterville she served for five years on the Tulare County Commission on the Status of Women. A tragedy late in her life was the death of Kevin, the oldest of her three sons.

She is survived by her husband Paul Nay, her sons Steve and John Nay, and her grandsons Ian and Andrew Nay.

There will be a Celebration of Life for her at the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara at 3:00 PM Sunday, March 3. Contributions in her name to the Alzheimers Association or other groups fighting dementia would be welcome and appropriate.


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