County’s first female elected official passes away

By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer

Fay Falkner Quick was the true, old-fashioned meaning of a public servant, daughter-in-law Judy Quick said. The matriarch of the Falkner family, a family well known in Columbiana, Fay Quick was the first woman elected to public office in Shelby County.

Fay Quick’s father moved his family to Columbiana when he was elected the sheriff of Shelby County in 1923 for his one-year term.

Fay Quick was elected to the position of tax collector in 1966.

“She was called up, invited, asked,” Judy Quick said. “It was never political ambition; she wanted to serve.”

Fay Quick

Judy Quick said her mother-in-law ran unopposed in the general election for three six-year terms in a row.

“She knew everyone in Shelby County at the time (she ran for office),” Judy Quick said. “She knocked on every door and said, ‘I’m Fay Quick and I’m running for office and I want to serve you.’

“She was gregarious and confident,” Judy Quick said. “She was a woman of amazing courage.”

Fay Quick was a single mom to only son Gene Quick.

“In 1940, she realized her marriage wasn’t going to work. She was living in Trussville, but moved back home (to Columbiana),” Judy Quick said. “She had to make it on her own, and she did. That’s the story of Fay Quick.”

When Fay Quick decided to run for public office, Gene Quick was serving in the U.S. Air Force in Vietnam.

Gene Quick said his mother became the leader of the Falkner family.

“‘Matriarch’ is a good word for it,” he said.

In 1947, Fay Quick built the blue house on Washington Street across from Shelby County High School. Judy Quick said her mother-in-law obtained a loan for $3,000 and paid $18.75 per month for 20 years without interest until the house loan was paid in full.

Gene and Judy Quick built their home 11 years ago on Lay Lake and included a room especially for Quick. The couple painted the room pink, as that was Fay Quick’s favorite color.

While lived with her son and daughter-in-law, Fay Quick and Judy Quick organized poems Fay Quick wrote for her church, First Baptist Church of Columbiana. The poems were published in “Sounding the Joy: Poetic tributes to ‘Joyful Sound’ and more.” According to Judy Quick, Fay Quick wrote a number of poems for loved ones’ birthdays and as tributes to friends.

“She was a pioneer politician and a poet. You can see her humor in her poems,” Judy Quick said. “She was a southern lady, but not a fragile southern lady of a different class. She came from a working class family and was not high society by any means.”

“She earned everything she ever had,” Gene Quick said. “I just saw her working so hard, and that inspired me. Knowing she was doing it all for me made it more meaningful.”

Fay Quick passed away on Nov. 20, 2011. She is survived by her only son, Gene Quick (Judy) of Shelby Shores; her grandson, Scott Quick (Beth); her great-grandsons, Jake and Zach Quick, all of Newnan, Ga.; and numerous nieces and nephews.