Faye Ileene Speciale, 72 year resident of Portland, died peacefully on June 12 with her family by her side. She was 90 years young. Faye joins her husband, Charles Michael Speciale, who passed away in 2003.
Faye was born on February 9, 1929 to Katie and Howard Ash in Trail, Oregon. She grew up in the company of her sister Betty and her two brothers, Ben and Gene. While living at home, she acquired her father’s carpentry skills and her mother’s ability to cook and sew. As a teenager, Faye enjoyed horseback riding and was not afraid to challenge her brothers at the sport. An unfortunate fall from her horse and a broken arm sent her on multiple trips to Portland to repair the injury.
It was during her time in Portland that Faye met Charles Speciale, the handsome Italian working in the grocery store next to the house she was staying in. She often said “it was love at first sight” and he remained the love of her life. They married on October 12, 1947 and made Portland their home. Faye and Chuck raised four children, Michael, Jan, Judy and Jill, and lived happily in the house they built. After their children were grown, they had the great pleasure of welcoming six grandchildren into their lives. Michael’s son Sean, Jan’s daughters Sarah and Jamie, and Jill’s daughters, Kelsey, Claire and Katelynn. Later, Faye was blessed with two great grand children, Sean’s daughter, Elina and son Maxim.
At Faye and Chuck’s home, the front door was never locked and everyone was welcomed. Many of her children’s friends found a place at the table, a home if they needed one and called her “mom.” She enjoyed participating in her children’s activities, and helping her husband Charles at the store he owned. When her children were young, Faye planned camping trips to remote places in Oregon that were memorable, and proved her expertise as an amazing camp chef. Once her children were grown, spending time with grand kids topped her list of favorites.
Faye had many talents. She loved her garden and could make anything grow. Her yard was an explosion of color and texture with profuse flowers and many native plants. She found rocks from all over Oregon and built an amazing, multi level garden that became the talk of the neighborhood. She was very proud of it and it remains a testament to her wonderful gardening skills. She was a “master gardener” before the term became fashionable.
She wasn’t afraid of power tools, and knew how to use them. She was an excellent seamstress, made most of her own stylish clothes in wild prints that became a signature of her strong personality – she was ahead of her time. She read books on every subject, was curious and had varied interests. She liked Beatles music in the 60’s and could dance to the classic sound of the Big Bands. She was an artist who adored wild colors and patterns. When she couldn’t wear them, she papered the walls with them. When her children were through college she said, “Now it’s my turn,” and enrolled in college classes. She did not finish with a degree, but co-authored and illustrated a book on Indian Rock Art and became an expert on Pictographs and Petroglyphs. Her book was published in 1982.
Faye spent the last few months of her life in the loving care of Raluca, Theresa and Marion at Mapleview Manor in Milwaukie. She loved her time there, spent many hours roaming their beautiful garden and made many new friends. Our family is forever grateful to them for their care of “Miss Faye” and accepting all of us into their family.
Faye was a person of many talents, passions, vitality and character. She taught her children, and many of their friends, to be strong, determined and to face, head on, all the challenges of life. Put simply, Faye was an amazing person. We were fortunate to call her our mother and we will miss her very much.
Fay was preceded in death by her husband Charles, brothers Ben and Gene, and sister, Betty. She is survived by her children Michael Speciale (Pam), Jan Speciale-Bettis (Greg), Judy Speciale McCarty (Doug), Jill Speciale (Mark Lewis), Grandchildren Sean Speciale (Anya), Sarah Bettis, Jamie Bettis, Kelsey Ion, Claire Poelwijk (Zack), Katelynn Ion, Great Grandchildren Elina and Maxim Speciale.
Please join us for a Celebration of Life on Saturday, June 29th. Drop in anytime between 1pm-5pm at Jill and Mark’s home 13140 SE Nixon, Milwaukie, OR. 97222.
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