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Montrose shop owner dies at 93

Proprietress of Fiona's Antiques & Gifts since 1966 stayed active until the end.

By Bill Kisliuk, bill.kisliuk@latimes.com

8:21 PM PST, December 5, 2012

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Fiona Bayliss' Montrose boutique is stuffed with holiday items, antiques and hard-to-find pieces of furniture, but for the first time in decades Bayliss is not there to sell them.

On Nov. 29, Bayliss died in her sleep at her La Crescenta home, according to friends. The longtime Montrose shop owner was 93.

“There isn't anything negative to say about her,” said Larry Moss, a friend of Bayliss' for 50 years. “She was a very positive, caring, generous person who was full of life. She wasn't your typical older person who goes to the rest home and sits in her rocking chair.”

In 1961 Bayliss took over some space in a friend's Honolulu Avenue shop and immediately struck a chord with local shoppers.

In 1966 she opened Fiona's Antiques and Gifts on Verdugo Road, where she held court until last week. Well-wishers have since placed a wreath and flowers at the shop's doorstep, and friends are preparing to work with customers and those who have goods on consignment inside.

Bayliss is survived by her son, Jim, and his family. Her husband died shortly after she opened the store in 1966.

A noted cat lover, Bayliss also liked to play the horses, according to Moss.

“She always called me and said, ‘Bet on the grays,” said Moss, co-owner of Penelope's Café, Books and Gallery in La Cañada Flintridge and owner of the landscape design firm Moss & Associates.

In a newspaper profile earlier this year, Bayliss displayed the positive attitude that won over customers and others.

“Attitude and gratitude are very important in this world,” she said. “I used to say, you might be handed a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it. You've got to get up and do something about it.”

A memorial is planned for Bayliss at Penelope's in January.

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