February 25, 1939 - April 30, 2019
GERALD "JERRY" JOHN HAY
Gerry was married in Toronto in 1969 to Betty Reinhart. They moved to Winnipeg 2 years later pulling a U-Haul. Gerry’s primary purpose in moving to Winnipeg was to attend Canadian Nazarene College (See picture #6) He only attended for one year, as he was weak in academics. He took a job with Reimer Express. During this time his son Jeff was born. During the time he lived in Toronto, he worked for the C.N.R which allowed us the opportunity to take some train trips. The years went by and he met some very interesting people. Trivita attended university. When he was finished, he wanted his family and our family’s picture taken at a studio (picture #11). They left to go back to their country, which was Western Samoa Titsia, and family still keep in touch. We met them while Titsia was attending University. They moved back to Japan. Recently, we received a letter and pictures also a C.D for Gerry so she could hear his voice. It included music “What a wonderful wonderful world”
Gerry’s interest in meeting people continued as we rented out 2 rooms in our home to international students. Gerry met many students during those 10 years. They were anxious to engage in conversation, as they wanted to improve their English. (See picture of Gerry pouring water for tea and the other photos of students (#8, 9, and 10)) After supper, we would take a walk to nearby Kings Park where we met a number of Chinese people who were eager to talk. Gerry would ask what Province and City they were from.
Gerry enjoyed travelling by bus to different malls. He enjoyed going to Portage Place. One day he decided to get his haircut. The barber’s name was Bernie. They went out for coffee and became friends. Having things in common, they kept in touch through many years. They met last year while Bernie was visiting his mother in Park Manor. They talked as if they were still the same old buddies.
Gerry's best friend Dave told him Betty attends Grace Church of the Nazarene and she sings in the choir. He took a bus across the city from east to west in order to attend her church. when in church, he looked toward the choir which was singing. He saw this person who he thought looked like an angel (he later told Betty). At that moment, he knew in the near future he would marry this person he hadn't met yet.
Gerry met many people during those years. He would ask if they could write their name down so he could remember them. He filled 3 ring binders and eventually recorded them on cassette tapes which he enjoyed listened to at Park Manor. He would pray for God’s will to be done in each person’s life. He would recall who they were.
While we were living in Fort Garry, Gerry wanted to visit the Transcona Church as we knew we would be living in E.P.L. Gerry loved the music. Wilma the pianist reminded him of his mother who also played piano in church during the time he was growing up. She even played for him after the service.
Gerry met someone by the name of Walter Monias, he was an aboriginal man from the Garden Hill Reserve. I don’t know where they met but Gerry brought him home and they kept in touch. The day of his birthday, I had a cake baked for him (See picture 12). He looked at it and said to us “I’ve never had anyone give me a cake on my birthday” there were tears in his eyes.
Gerry’s dream of becoming a prison chaplain was never fulfilled. However, he did become part of an organization called “Chaplain Volunteer”. He along with his family (Jeff was a baby) picked up friends and family of Stony Mountain inmates, which allowed them to visit their loved ones. We visited Gerry’s aunt and uncle in Balmoral.
Gerry loved listening to hymns and gospel songs. Two of them “Home Sweet Home” and “Living for Jesus” were sung at the Celebrations of Life service by one of his favorites the F.E.B.C. quartet and soloist at Park Manor. Gerry wanted music played continually, he loved it so much. While listening to them with Gerry, I have come more appreciative of them. Gerry certainly lived his lived in service to his Lord. As we look back over Gerry’s life, we can see evidence of God leading and guiding him throughout. Gerry felt it was important to feed the body, mind and spirit and that was what he did. Gerry was a loving husband. We grew closer in our relationship after my retirement.
Sincere thanks to Chaplain Alan for providing such a beautiful Celebration of Life service. Many thanks to those who worked alongside him and family who took part in making the program what I had prayed it would be.
Many thanks to Maxine and Leslie and those involved in helping. A lovely lunch was provided following the service.
Thank you Integrity Death Care for living up to your name, and providing exceptional care.
-Compiled by his loving wife, Betty.
Gerry passed away peacefully on April 30, 2019 at his residence in Park Manor Home, Transcona, MB at the age of 80 years.
Gerry is survived by his loving wife Betty; son Jeff; brothers Garth of Abbotsford, BC, Ron (Biff) (Maxine) of Brandon, and Bob (Leslie) of Cranberry Portage, MB. He was predeceased by his father and mother, John and Margaret Hay; sisters-in-law Leona Hay and Bernice Hay.
Gerry was born in a small log cabin 1939 to John and Margaret Hay of Bissett, a small isolated Gold mining town in Eastern Manitoba. It was a bit of a pioneer existence at the beginning. Gerry would certainly remember chores he had growing up with his three brothers, hauling wood in a sleigh from the big woodpile to the house and tossing it down the wood chute and stacking it in the basement. He had his fill of hoeing potatoes and pulling weeds in the large garden, picking blueberries and raspberries in the bush and carrying drinking water from a nearby well.
It wasn’t all work though we had organized baseball and hockey. Gerry however was not a hockey player and when his Dad, a very competitive curler asked him if he would like to curl with him, he jumped at the chance. He loved to curl and during his high school years skipped teams at the high school Bonspiel in Winnipeg.
Gerry loved to sing, country and western in particular and competed in the local talent contest at the community hall, belting out two of his favorite songs.
Gerry worked at a variety of jobs beginning with mining in Bissett and Thompson and then a stint as a custodian at Bird, an RCAF radar station installed in the 60’s during the Cold War. While at Bird, he took on a volunteer job in the evening as a radio announcer, relaying messages to remote communities, reading the news and filling the silent void of the North with the strains of Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and Buddy Holly.
While working in Toronto and attending church services, a friend introduced him to a certain Betty Reinhart. A few days later he showed up at the Nazarene Publishing House office, where Betty worked, and asked her “do you ever get a coffee break” and the rest is history. Gerry and Betty were married in Toronto in 1969, and moved to Winnipeg in 1971 where their son Jeff was born. Their marriage of 49 years was a source of strength for them both.
There were times when Gerry had significant struggles in his life but his strong Christian faith was a real source of strength for him and it pushed him to reach out to others. That became a major focus in his life. He studied to be a Chaplain at the Church of the Nazarene College for a year and although he did not acquire a position in that field he became a volunteer Chaplain. He visited inmates at Headingly Jail and Stony Mountain Penitentiary and he and Betty provided support by driving their family members for visits. Jerry’s outreach took him to International Student Services at the U of M where their services provided names of international students needing room and board. Gerry and Betty boarded many international students over the years at their home near the university. Gerry’s acceptance of persons no matter what their circumstance led him to make friendships on the bus, in missions and even on the streets. From these meetings, Gerry would compile prayer lists and cassettes and would spend many hours each day praying for them.
This love for reaching out to others carried on to Park Manor Care Home where he lived his last years. When he slowly moved down the hallway in his wheel chair unable to talk anymore, his neighbours would smile and wave at Him and some of the men would reach out and say “give me 5 Gerry! His strong faith and devotion to his Lord remained with him to the end. On Easter a few days before his death, Betty leaned over and asked him if he wished to go to Easter Service. He looked up and whispered, “Yes”.
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A Celebration of life was held on May 7, 2019 at Park Manor Care Home. Donations in Gerry’s memory may be made to Adventist Development Relief Agency Canada at 20 Robert St. New Castle, ON, L1 1C6. www.adra.ca
Rest In Peace , Gerry
-Compiled by Brother Ron
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