Kathleen “Kay” Thomson Stoye, a Moab local, turned 107 on April 9, making her one of the oldest people in Utah—in July 2021, there were 165 centenarians in the state. She and her family recently held a birthday party at the Canyonlands Care Center, where Stoye resides.
Her secret to a full life, according to her daughter, Rita Hampson, is her joy: she’s played a lot of bridge throughout her life, surrounds herself with friends, enjoys the Moab sunshine, and has a small glass of chardonnay every day at 4 p.m.
“She’s got a pretty good outlook on life,” Hampson said. “She loves her sunshine and blue skies … she loves baking in the sunshine, while we sit and sweat in the shade.”
Stoye was born in 1915 in California and graduated from the University of California Berkeley in 1937. When World War II broke out, she enlisted in the Women’s Reserve of the United States Coast Guard, also known as SPARS (“Semper Paratus—Always Ready”). When the war ended, she was stationed in New Orleans, where she met her future husband and fellow war veteran, Fred Stoye.
The Stoyes were drawn to Moab during its uranium boom and moved to town in 1954. They moved with three children: Mike, Rita, and Jim, and had a fourth in Moab: Bill. They lived on Tusher Street. Hampson said growing up, her mother always joined her on outdoor adventures—the two bonded over their love of horses and frequently rode in the mountains.
In Moab, Stoye was a socialite, Hampson said, and absolutely loved dancing. She and her husband Fred were members of the Moab Elks Lodge, which closed in 2018, and they would go out every weekend to dance and socialize.
Now, Stoye plays bingo and catches up with her children every Wednesday over Zoom. Her 107th birthday party was attended by her children, grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
“She loved it,” Hampson said, adding that when she last talked to her mother, Stoye said she still felt good.