Love and Loss in Lexington
Lexington sustained significant losses as a community, and 2020 was an especially cruel year, taking from us some of our most special friends, family, and neighbors.
Cubaka Mutayongwa, known to most as “Chui,” drowned in a tragic kayaking accident at Cave Run Lake on July 4, 2020.
“In his short life he left a huge impact,” says Mamadou “Sav” Savane, the owner of Sav’s Grill.
“I can honestly say that Lexington has lost a young leader who had a bright future in front of him.” A kitchen has been named in his honor inside the new Julietta Market.
Sandy Davis spent decades in Lexington working in the media and advertising community, as a volunteer for many non-profits, and as an artist and photographer, before relocating to her native Boston. She was also a longtime dedicated staffer at the Woodford Humane Society. As an entrepreneur, she founded the Art Movement Gallery, transforming Lexington businesses into art studios as she rotated the work of local artists into their spaces.
Her Memorial has been twice re-scheduled in accordance with community guidelines, and is now penciled in for Spring 2021. Join the Facebook Group, “I Knew Sandy Davis,” for regular updates, and to share memories.
Dolores “Dee” Fizdale died in November. Dee served as the Executive Director of the former Lexington Council of the Arts (1983 – 2002) and presided over its merger with the Fund for the Arts to create the Lexington Arts and Cultural Council, now known as LexArts.
During her tenure, LexArts realized major accomplishments including the renovation of ArtsPlace into a community arts center, the initiation of the Lucille C. Little endowment, leadership in the development of Fayette County magnet schools including the School for the Creative and Performing Arts (SCAPA), creation of Gallery Hop, the inaugural community-wide public art project Horse Mania, and so much more. Donations may be made to LexArts in her memory.
Lexington Third District council member Jake Gibbs died earlier this spring at the age of 66. A public memorial was hosted in March, with a crowd of family and friends filling The Kentucky Theatre to honor the late councilman.
Several months later, his wife Anita Courtney organized a fundraising effort for “Jake’s Garden” at Sav’s Restaurant on Main.
In the GoFundMe page, she writes, Jake “so wanted our city to be innovative, environmentally cherished and covered by beautiful green spaces. You can participate in making Jake’s vision a reality by contributing to this one-of-a-kind neighborhood spot on Lexington’s Main Street. And you’ll be able to say that you…made paradise, tore up a parking lot.”
Lexington attorney Terry McBrayer died October 11, 2020 after a lengthy battle with cancer. At 83, his entrepreneurial quest for new business never dimmed, and even in the hospital, he was known to regularly give out his business cards.
McBrayer began a law practice in a single room above a grocery store in Greenup, Kentucky, in 1963. The practice grew into what is now McBrayer PLLC. McBrayer spent five terms in the Kentucky House of Representatives starting in 1976, where he became Speaker Pro Tempore and Majority Leader. He was known as a community leader for his work with the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees, Kentucky Educational Television, Central Kentucky Blood Center, the Kentucky Council on Higher Education, the Central Kentucky Heart Association, and the Salvation Army, to name a few.
Lillian Press, best known as the “first lady” of Kentucky Educational Television, died on April 27, an early casualty of the COVID crisis. She was the widow of KET founder Leonard Press, and a fierce advocate and activist in her own right.
When Manny’s Woodworkers Place closed in 2011, it was widely eulogized in industry magazines. Mark M. wrote, “Manny was a fixture at the Woodworking shows. I visited him here in Atlanta many times, and when I went to show in Chicago with my dad, he always got the highest percentage of the budget. Manny, you will be missed and thanks.” Another fan wrote, “Manny has been a dependable fixture at the Woodworking Shows. His Gladstone brand of hand tools also caught my eye early on.”
Manvendra (Manny) Shambhu died October 30, 2020. Although a celebration of his life was not possible due to community gathering guidelines, his family suggests memorial donations to The Working Cat Project that places feral cats into safe barns that otherwise would not have a home. www.workingcatprojectky.org. As a family friend shared on facebook, “You know the entire city would have loved to come and share the many memories they had of your dad and his woodworking shop. I think everyone in town appreciated your dad and how he shared his gift of woodworking.” Manny is survived by his wife, Sharon, his children Jim and Asha, and Jim’s family, wife Jill and sons, Samuel and Bennet. Jim Shambhu served as Ace’s longtime art director in the 90s and 2000s.
Lexington artist Carleton Wing shared the news with friends that he had tested positive for the coronavirus and was experiencing mild symptoms in March. He died a week later in April. A delayed memorial was held in June at St. Peter Claver.
This article also appears on page 9 of the December 2020 print edition of ace magazine.
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