A 37-year United veteran, she had chosen Flight 93 over another flight because it was nonstop.
She badgered her co-workers about getting their medical check-ups, bought clothes for people and even sent attractive hats to friends who were undergoing chemotherapy.
No event was too small to escape her notice. She lavished Gummi Bears on the son of a colleague, and was known for taking her camera to gatherings and printing multiple copies of the pictures to pass around.
Bay also routinely sent an avalanche of greeting cards for all occasions. Two ill colleagues received cards after her death that were postmarked Sept. 11, indicating that she had probably dropped them in the mail that morning from the airport.
“There wasn’t a kinder, more considerate person on the face of the earth,” fellow flight attendant Patricia Morris said. “I don’t know what Hallmark is going to do. They’re going to go bankrupt.”
With 37 years on the job, Bay was fourth in seniority out of the roughly 700 flight attendants who work for United out of Newark, N.J.
Born across the state line in Bucks County, Pa., she joined the airline when being a flight attendant still carried a certain cachet. Based in San Francisco for her first three years on the job, she headed east and was then based at Newark for the rest of her career.
Priding herself on her appearance, Bay would get up in the middle of the night for a 7 a.m. flight to make herself up just so. She would let her husband of 22 years, Erich, sleep in their East Windsor, N.J. home while she drove herself to work.
Bay loved to fly and took pains to put passengers at ease.
“She was like everyone’s favorite aunt who came to visit, brought you a present, talked to you, spent time with you,” said Mary Bush, who by merit of her position as the most senior United flight attendant at Newark had known Bay for more than 30 years. “She was that way to passengers, too.”
Altering herself like a chameleon changes colors, Bay would match her personality to connect with children, senior citizens and everyone in between who came under her ministrations during a trip.
“Work,” Bush said, “was a love affair for her.”