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HAYES, George Thomas

November 26, 1933 – Nash Creek, NB
November 19, 2014 – Calgary, AB

George Thomas Hayes beloved husband of Sylvia, passed away after a brief illness on Wednesday, November 19, 2014 at the age of 80 years.

George started his education at CMR and graduated from Civil Engineering at the University of New Brunswick in 1965. He had a long career as a professional engineer, working at a number of pulp mills and then Dominion Bridge, Henderson Barwick, and retiring in 1992 from the Skeena Pulp Mill in Prince Rupert, BC.

George was a tireless volunteer and advocate for many causes such as professional engineering organizations, the Cannery Museum, and the Northwest Maritime Institute. He had a passion for great political debates. He ran for the Civic Party in Montreal in the 1980’s and volunteered for the Liberal Party for many years.

George and Sylvia moved to Calgary in 2010 to follow his true passion, watching the grandchildren at recitals, concerts, swim meets, football games, and hockey games.

George was an affable optimist always positive about life and all the people he met in life.

George is survived and will be deeply missed by his wife Sylvia; children, Carolyn (Baron), Stephanie (Neil), and Matthew (Wanda); grandchildren, Andrew, Christopher, Allison, Isabelle, and John; and siblings, Edith, James (Mac) (Lynn), Kevin (Cathy), Kathy, and Allan (Theresa).

A Celebration of George’s Life will be held in the Summer of 2015 in Nash Creek, New Brunswick. (For details, e-mail to Matt Hayes Forward condolences through If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made directly to the Canadian Cancer Society, 200 – 325 Manning Rd. N.E., Calgary, AB T2E 2P5 Telephone: (403) 205-3966, email or to an educational charity of your choice.

In living memory of George Hayes, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Fish Creek, 14441 BANNISTER ROAD S.E. CALGARY, AB Telephone: 1-800-661-1599.

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Condolence Messages

  1. What a great person to have for a dad! Matt, so sorry for your loss. In seeing his photo, I can guarantee that smile lives on though. Take care.

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  2. Dave and Carole Roberts :

    Was so sad to hear – heartfelt sympathy to Sylvia and family and to his brothers and sisters. He’ll be missed in the summer vacations in Nash Creek and I’ll miss my genealogy chats with him.

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  3. Elaine (Doyle) Fontaine :

    So sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with all the Hayes family.

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  4. Sandra (Doyle) Curwin :

    Sylvia & family
    My deepest sympathy on George’s passing. My thoughts are with you all at this difficult time.

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  5. I first met George just before he retired from Skeena Cellulose in Prince Rupert in about 1990. I was struck by his unstinting volunteer efforts towards the future development and potential of the North Coast Region. His knowledge of all the communities of the North Coast, the First Nations, the fishing, marine and logging industries and future opportunities was unsurpassed. His efforts and networking to secure a future for the region were untiring, he kept on advocating a future vision, no matter what the political or economic problems were in implementing them. He was one of a kind and his contributions to the coast are not forgotten.
    My greatest sympathies to Sylvia, his children and grandchildren, all of whom he loved and was very proud of and kept updating his friends on their achievements across Canada.
    In fond remembrance
    John Spence

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  6. George Hayes

    An Appreciation

    November 26th 1933, Nash Creek NB – November 19th 2014 Calgary AB

    I first met George when he was still working for Skeena Cellulose Prince Rupert in about 1990. At that time The Science Council of British Columbia were working on a strategic plan for development of the marine sector of the West coast of Canada – covering the marine sciences, coastal communities, all marine related industries and the economic development potential of the coast of British Columbia. We were having great difficulty getting engagement from the North Coast and in reflecting the importance of the North Coast in the future of British Columbia. George with his huge network of contacts and understanding of the past, present and future, along that rich and diverse coast corrected the situation; and throughout the 1990’s and into the next Millennium he held high a torch showing the way forward for these communities.

    George having grown up in Nash Creek, Restigouche County NB, often talked about his roots, the Hayes House and his Irish links. Working as an engineer in Quebec and the Maritimes as an engineer, in the resource industries, he well understood what made small remote communities tick.
    So when he and Sylvia came to Prince Rupert he made it his business to network with a wide circle of community interests and to understand the full history of that coast. From the First Nations and their cultural heritage in that region, to the latest trends in marine technology, no one had a better understanding than George. He understood the importance of the First Nations in the fishing, canning and logging industries and George gained the respect of North and Mid Coast Native Leaders –the Tsimsian, the Gitksan, the Haida; and saw relations and respect of native societies as key to a harmonious future for the region.
    After he retired from Skeena Cellulose, while Sylvia was teaching in Prince Rupert High School, George threw himself wholeheartedly into championing the development and diversification of the North Coast and its Marine based economy and became involved as an unpaid volunteer in a wide range of initiatives, ranging from the restoration of an old Skeena cannery as a museum, the archaeology of ancient Tsimsian sites, and the restoration of a former Pacific Fisheries Research Station in Prince Rupert, which had been closed in 1940 by the Dominion Government and relocated to “safe” West Vancouver, because of the threat of Japanese invasion. This had been an important Pacific region base for the then Fisheries Research Board of Canada. George wanted to see research capacity restored to the North Coast, where it was needed to enable the North coastal communities and Canadian industry to face all the emerging challenges of the 21st century, – of resource depletion, global climate change, sustainability and the rise of Asia; and he would never let the politicians and “suits “ in Vancouver and Ottawa forget that. This was his vision behind the Northwest Maritime Institute, a concept widely supported by educators and community leaders, but as yet unrealized.
    Among many events, covering the arts, sciences and business, George was instrumental in organizing the Prince Rupert Business Summit in 2000; and attended endless committees, workshops and conferences all along the coast; advocating ceaselessly for the coastal communities, and he had no hesitation in tackling the experts of the day, economists, scientists, technologists, environmentalists, sociologists, anthropologists, apologists who frequently had a lot of excuses as to why some action could not be contemplated. George would often say that these “…ists “ as he called them, did not understand the coast and that the communities needed their own voice in the remote centres of power.
    To every visitor to the North Coast, George and Sylvia were marvellous hosts, and you would always leave there, feeling you had gained insight into something special. A visitor would leave for the ferry to the airport, usually after a last briefing over coffee with himself and his good friend Charlie Parkin, full of new insights, and infected with his boundless optimism about the potential of the region.
    In latter years, every year, George would send an update on his family and the activities along the coast, usually within a card with one of Sylvia’s paintings of the coast. His faith in people and his optimism and interest in the future will be sorely missed.

    John Spence
    November 23rd 2014
    Moyglass Farm, Co Fermanagh NI,
    ( formerly Head, Marine Sector Strategic Planning, Science Council of BC)

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  7. Phil & Barbara D. Thibodeau :

    Dear Sylvia and Family!
    Your coast to coast life together with George has given you many friends and many memories. May you feel that support from across all of Canada. We send you Hugs from Chaleur!
    Phil and Barbara

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  8. Michael Connors :

    Very sorry for your loss.
    Mike Connors

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  9. Douglas E. Morgan :


    Dads are heroes and memories are king. Sorry for your loss.

    Ole Man Morgan

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  10. George and l were good friends at CMR. My wife Heather whom l met at the 1954 Christmas Ball there often talks of him.

    Our sincere condolences go out to you. We have lost a dear friend.

    Gerry and Heather Wharton.

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  11. Phyllis Hawley :

    Sylvia, I just heard today of George’s passing when I was skiing at Kananaskis Village. I am so sorry for your loss. I hope that you are finding comfort in all the memories and in time with family and friends.

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  12. As a long time friend of George’s sister, Kathy, I knew all her siblings and have fond memories of visiting George and Sylvia’s home in Prince Rupert. While there my mother, daughter Lindsay and I were wowed with the eagles soaring over, the barbecued salmon, the boat ride George took us on and the wonderful tour of the cannery that George helped make into a museum. I’m so glad to hear his memorial will be in Nash Creek.
    My thoughts are with all the family members.

    Warm regards,
    Judy Lalonde

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