NEW CANAAN, Conn. – Wellington "Bill" Burt Hay Jr. of New Canaan died Nov. 19. He was 95.
He was born May 25, 1917, in Oyster Bay, N.Y., to Wellington Burt Hay Sr. and Louise Taylor Hay. His family moved to London when he was 3, and he attended St. Alban's School and Stowe School.
Hay moved back to the United States and graduated from Yale University in 1940. Before the United States entered into World War II, he attempted to return to England to enlist in Britain’s Royal Air Force.
He was unable to make the crossing and instead joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. He served from 1941 to 1945 as a fighter pilot and squadron leader, seeing action in England, Africa, Malta, Sicily and Italy. He survived being shot down over the Mediterranean and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
After the war, Hay settled in New Canaan and worked for the Cushing Book Store. His love of writing led him to open the Sandpiper Paperback Book Shop in both New Canaan and Wilton. He also started the Sandpiper Book Service, which put on book fairs at schools throughout Fairfield County and Westchester County, N.Y.
In his retirement, Hay enjoyed traveling with his wife and spending time with their family and friends. He was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church of New Canaan, where he loved listening to the organ, choir and bagpipes.
Hay also helped to organize many of the church’s Scottish Sundays and volunteered as a driver. He was a member of the 70+ Ski Club and Senior Men’s Club for many years. Hay enjoyed hiking and skiing, fly fishing for trout and salmon and watching the birds on his feeders.
Hay was predeceased by a brother, Nicholas R.T. Hay; and his first wife, Annchen G. Jones. He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Marija "Mia" Marinovich Hay; a son, Stephen Taylor (Betsy) Hay, of Ridgefield; a daughter, Cindy Hay (Robert) Hardzog, of Jay, N.Y.; and five grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.
A memorial service will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, at First Presbyterian Church of New Canaan.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children's Hospital or a favorite charity.