It is with sorrow and love in our hearts that the family announces the passing of William Nils Hay on August 13, 2019, at Health Sciences North in Sudbury, Ontario. William (Bill) was surrounded and supported by his loving family and friends in his final weeks, and passed away peacefully at 79 years of age.
Although he was known as ‘Big Red’ for his tall stature, Bill was a thoughtful and rather shy individual in his younger years. He developed a more outgoing personality as he grew older, eventually becoming a very sociable man and a conversationalist of some note, with an endless supply of entertaining stories (to which many can attest). Though not a formally educated man, Bill could carry on a conversation on almost any topic with experts and non-experts alike. A voracious reader, he was passionate and knowledgeable regarding history and politics. And he loved music, for which he had an encyclopedic memory. If you wanted to know who wrote it, who sang it and when it went number one, you asked Bill.
Bill was also an avid lover of the outdoors, who retired to his precious farm on Manitoulin Island. Frequently seen walking the property with his axe or chainsaw, those that knew him knew he was a gentle giant. He enjoyed gardening, planting trees, tending his apple orchard, picking plums and making jam, cutting the grass, outwitting the groundhogs, practicing his golf swing; most of all he loved sitting in his outdoor lounge listening to classic tunes and reading the paper.
Born into humble beginnings in Sudbury, Bill travelled widely and had an incredible variety of adventures in his lifetime. Even when times were challenging, he always had an incredible love of life – he found joy in almost any situation, remained stoic and optimistic throughout every challenge. Most importantly we will embrace his profound gratitude for each and every day’s experiences.
His final year was challenging at times, but the family is eternally grateful for the expert and gracious care he was given as the end approached. There were many nurses, PSW’s and hospital staff who helped, but in particular we will never forget the compassionate Danielle, the most dedicated Doctor Nel, the amusing Lisa (aka Dorothy!), and the most caring Nurse Kelly.
Bill was a committed husband and he leaves his loving wife of 47 years Barbara, as well as his devoted daughter Shawna (Lars), his grateful son Garrett (Robin), and his two treasured grandchildren Leif and Gala. He’s also greatly missed by his surviving brothers Robert (Aline), David, and Douglas (Bev) and many loving cousins, nieces, nephews, in-laws and outlaws, relatives and friends. He was predeceased by his mother, father and sisters Mary-Jane (Joe), Ruth-Ann (Keith), as well as his precious brother Sandy, who left him far too young; there is comfort knowing they are together again.
We love you, Dad. You taught us all so much through your shining example. You almost loved this life too much to leave it, but you’re here in our hearts and memories now. Your love and support we will carry with us forever, share with our friends and families as you did with yours, and impart to your grandchildren who love you so.
There will be a celebration of his life Saturday August 17th from 2-4pm at the
Taps Northern Grillhouse and Pub, 1500 Regent St, Sudbury, ON P3E 3Z6
In lieu of flowers we would be grateful for donations made in his honour, in support of either our natural environment or our health care providers:
‘’It is remarkable how closely the history of the apple tree is connected with that of man.
~Henry David Thoreau’’
‘’Iduna keeps in the box the apples which the gods, when they feel old age approaching, have only to taste of when they feel old age approaching to become young again.’’
~the Prose Edda