Johnnie Faye was born in 1933 in Black Creek (an area known then as Zig Zag) to Elmer and Mary Jane Allen. Johnnie recalls that her mother’s family moved to the area from Mississippi, but her dad “always lived in Moore.” Johnnie has four siblings. Her sister’s names are Jimmie, Bobbie, and Tommie. Her brother’s name – and no, his is not a girl’s name – is Billy.
Recalling those childhood days, Johnnie Faye relates that their house had no lights, no running water, and no indoor bathroom. Her dad worked on windmills, often earning as much as $15.00 per job, which she says was pretty good in those times. One fond memory she shares is the family’s weekly trip by wagon to buy groceries in Moore. While their mother shopped, she and her siblings would sit outside the store and drink Grapette sodas with money they had collected by picking up discarded soda bottles along the road. The family ultimately settled in Moore, but Johnnie Faye attended school in Yancey where she was a cheerleader and participated in sports. She graduated in 1952 in a class of five pupils.
At age 19, Johnnie Faye married Raymond Brown, Jr. (known as Jimmy, a nickname Johnnie Faye can’t explain!). Raymond (Jimmy) joined the Army, and over the next several years, he was stationed at various places, including Missouri, Georgia, and Colorado. With each move, Raymond would settle in before Johnnie would join him. They soon had three children: Sandy, born in December of 1954 (d. 2011); Nancy, born in December of 1956; and Randy, born in March of 1958. It was while deployed to Japan that Raymond received an injury to his eye, and after hospitalization and outpatient treatment, he eventually received a medical discharge. The family then settled in Devine.
Tragedy hit in January of 1959 when Raymond, still a young man, received fatal burns while working for Humble Oil Company, dying just a month after the accident (Feb 14, 1959). This left Johnnie Fay a young widow with three children. Randy was just shy of a year old; Nancy was two; and Sandy was four. Compensation from the military provided for the family, and Johnnie Faye managed to cope alone until almost two years after her husband’s death when she married Don Evans. Don brought to the marriage one daughter, Robbin, and Johnnie and Don had two children together: Donna, born in October of 1961, and Bobby, born in January of 1966.
Johnnie Faye and Don have lived in either Moore or Devine since their marriage on November 4, 1960. For many years, Don worked at Devine Nuts, and he was mostly responsible for building the large peanut warehouse that is still used today. After leaving Devine Nuts, he worked for Moore Waterworks, but Don is primarily self employed. Even today, at the age of 83, he still runs a backhoe and maintainer!
Because Raymond Brown died so young, Johnnie Faye has been compiling stories about him to share with his children. One of those memories includes happy times of the two of them going fishing. And recently, she and her daughter Nancy traveled to Colorado Springs to locate landmarks of the days they were stationed there. She found the grocery where, back all those years ago, she and Raymond were dismayed to discover that it did not sell tortillas. And they found the park and other locations they used to frequent. Nancy enjoyed listening to stories her mother told of her father and their good times together as a young couple in their early twenties.
A tireless lady, Johnnie Faye is always eager to hop in the car, ready to go. And she enjoys spending time with her friends, which includes playing Bunco in two groups – one in Devine and one in Moore – playing cards with friends, frequenting the casino in Eagle Pass, and taking a yearly trip to Las Vegas. But, nothing compares to her passion for and enthusiastic support of Devine’s athletics. She sorely regrets that, because she works on Friday nights, she has to miss ballgames played by her grandchildren and other kids she knows. However, she is glad to get to see some of the volleyball games played during the week, and she recently rode to the other side of Houston and back in the same day to see a granddaughter play.
Speaking of grandchildren, Johnnie Faye has quite a legacy. She has 14 grandchildren, 34 great-grandchildren, and three great-great-grandchildren. (Sandy has nine grandchildren; Randy, six, Nancy, 17; Bobby, two; Donna and Robbin, no grandchildren yet.) Eleven of the great-grandkids are presently in school in Devine. These 11 are the grandchildren of Sandy and Randy. As for getting all of the family together at the same time, most of them do try to come at Christmas. Nancy says that if everyone showed up, there would be about 70; but, some 55-60 usually do make it. That’s a pretty good turnout.
Johnnie Faye has worked as a waitress for over 35 years! She first went to work around 1975 at a Super Stop in Moore. After that, she worked for Good Time Charlie’s and then for OST before it sold and she joined the Cupps at Charlie’s II. She especially loves her customers, enjoying them picking on and teasing her and her picking right back. Nancy says, “Everywhere we go, even anywhere in San Antonio, we meet people who know her.” Johnnie Faye quips, “I wish I could remember their names!” And when asked why she still works at age 84, she replied, “You get tired of cleaning house.” Although she has been convinced to quit the cooking part of the job – she is famous for her fried chicken – no doubt we can expect to see Johnnie Faye continue to work at Charlie’s II for some time to come, for which we are all very glad.