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Shawn Lay

June 19, 2020 | By slarson

His end of watch on Earth occurred on June 7, thus began his over watch in heaven.

Sgt. Shawn Lay was born May 30, 1974, to Mark and Mary Cameron (Cecil) Lay. He grew up in San Bernardino, California, and moved to Topeka, Kansas, in 1993 where he began a new journey.

In 2010, he attended Advanced Individual Training to become a UH-60 Black Hawk maintainer. While in training, he and Denea fell in love over the phone. They joined souls August 9, 2011.

Shawn enjoyed spending time with his family. Being with his grandchildren brought him great joy. Shawn loved to read fictional and suspenseful books, and watch action movies. Shawns greatest qualities included being an amazing protector, provider, and always wanting to fix things for everyone. Shawn never knew a stranger, and he was a compassionate listener. His smile and laugh were contagious and drew you in. He was driven by making everyone around him better, while remaining humble about his own capabilities. Shawns other passions included his truck and Harley Davidson.       

Some of his proudest achievements included serving his country and wearing the uniform. Shawn joined the Kansas Army National Guard June 18, 1997, in the field artillery. He deployed to the Middle East twice with the 1st Battalion, 108th Aviation, most recently returning home in May 2019. Shawn held many additional duties within the ARNG, including combat life saver, and Company D Fire Safety noncommissioned officer.

He was a dedicated and professional corrections officer at Topeka Correctional Facility while also working part time at Stormont Vail Medical Center as a security guard. Shawns other careers include Good Year Tire and Rubber, the Qwik Shop, and Advanced Auto.

Shawns education included attending high school in San Bernardino, California. He also received a certificate from Washburn Tech in machine/tools technology in 2009.

He is survived by: his wife Denea Lay, father Marc Lay, step-mother Patricia Lay, his daughters Nicole Domagalski, Caitlin (Derek) Willcut, Breanna Lay, Jessica (Blake) Bishop, and Kaela Valdivia; sons Austin Warken-Brake and Kamren Brake; grandchildren Casey, Kayleigh, Izaiah, Hunter, Logan, Braxton, Aylah and Kayden; brother William (Lisa Spain-Adkins) Adkins; sister Cherie (Matthew) Mauldin; step-sisters Stephanie Bush and Brandi Schulfelberger; father-in-law Ronald Diahl; his nieces and nephews; and his best friend Dave and Melissa Anderson. Shawn was preceded in death by his mother Mary Lay, and his mother-in-law Frankie Hulsopple.

Memorial contributions may be made to Mission 22, 17040 Pilkington Rd, Suite 200, Lake Oswego, OR 97035 or Text the word give or donate to (615) 645-2451; Patriot Guard, 6641 E. 85th Street North, Oswasso, OK 74055; VFW Philip Billard Post 1650, 3110 SW Huntoon St #1663, Topeka, KS 66604.