Alvah Forster Fenn, known as “Vay” Fenn, 92, passed away peacefully on August 10, 2019. Vay was born in Mesa Arizona, March 23, 1927 to Alvah and Carmen Forster Fenn.
He was the 10th child and sixth son out of 14 children. He is survived by his wife Barbara Hecker Fenn and by his 10 children, and one adopted son; Connie and Dave Monk, Karen and Ken Allred, Dwight and Sylvia Fenn, Peggy Fenn, Alvaro Fenn, Judy and Al Slarve, Mack and Rachel Fenn, Anna and Hector Valdez, Alison and Dave Robbennolt, Henry and Lynn Fenn, and Norma Smith. He is also survived by a great posterity of 40 grandchildren, 76 great-grandchildren, and 10 great-great grandchildren.
The Fenn family left Benson in 1924 and moved to Mesa Arizona. They moved back to Benson in 1933, and Vay has lived in Benson since then, only to leave shortly to serve in the military, and to work on the El Paso Natural Gas line. Vay was deeply rooted in the San Pedro Valley. He was the 24th Benson Town Marshal from 1953-1955. He owned San Pedro Sand and Rock operating in Benson from 1953-1968, He then sold the business to his brother Don Fenn. Don, Vay’s only surviving sibling, still owns the business.
Vay was a preserver of history and collected many historical artifacts throughout his life starting in his teens. It was very important to him that history was preserved. He often said that “when its gone it’s just gone.” Alvah, “Vay” Fenn took pride in living in Benson, and held a strong passion for history. His yard is a treasure chest that was presided over by a storyteller with a wide spread memory about the San Pedro River Valley. Anyone that has had the opportunity talk to Vay has heard many stories. He was able to remember people, dates and times from the past, and would share them often. He was often quoted that he “was not very good with his words, but he could do almost anything with his hands.” He was a man of many talents and occupations including real estate, farmer, pilot, heavy equipment operator, prospector, law enforcement, silversmith, tanner, pipeline welder, antique collector, bee keeper, parachutist, mechanic, and molasses maker. He also built the house that he was currently living in out of the approximately 7,500 adobe block that he had made.
Vay had many friends. He accomplished many things during his life. He will be deeply missed. Services will be held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Benson, AZ, 481 N. Pomerene Rd. on Saturday, Aug. 17 at 11 a.m. A viewing will be held at 10 a.m. prior to the service.
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