Funeral Location:St. Mary's R. C. Church, Newcastle Miramichi Resting Location:no visitation Wishes:donor's choice
Helen Hayes passed away peacefully at the Miramichi Senior Citizen’s Home June 24th, 2007, at the age of 95, following a lengthy period of declining health.
Born in Newcastle November 7th, 1911, she was the youngest child of North Shore Leader publisher George F. McWilliam and Rose Ellen (Millea) McWilliam. After graduating from Saint Mary’s Academy, Newcastle, Helen obtained diplomas from the Harkins High School Commercial Department, Newcastle, and from the Provincial Normal School, Fredericton. She taught for a brief time at the Buie School, Newcastle, before joining the staff of her father’s weekly newspaper. Thus began a highly varied and energetic thirty-six years in the “newspaper business”. Nothing less than “total immersions” would satisfy her, and she played many roles, such as part-owner, editor, writer, reporter, and company secretary-treasurer of the weekly North Shore Leader. Helen was well known in newspaper circles throughout New Brunswick and Canada, as well as internationally. She retired when the “Leader” was sold in July, 1973.
In earlier years, an athletic Helen was an accomplished golfer, badminton and tennis player, and ice skater. She also brought her organizational skills to bear upon her role as a member of the Executive Committee of the Miramichi Golf and Country Club. Her longtime membership in the Catholic Women’s League earned her a fifty-year pin.
An avid reader, Helen favored mainly biographical and political publications, which writings also aided her in her journalistic endeavors, not to mention her close observance of politics at Provincial and National levels. She was stickler for accuracy of language, and she insisted on correctness by herself and by others.
Helen was gifted with lively curiosity about all things within her spheres of work and play, and little of worth escaped her interest and pursuit. Not surprisingly, she was somewhat adventurous. She traveled extensively, near and far, to lands exotic or less so, and in 1963, she was the sole participant from New Brunswick in a six-week tour of eight European countries, sponsored by the Canadian Weekly Newspaper’s Association, from which emerged a highly detailed account that appeared in the “Leader”. And, when many might have declined the opportunity, as some did, Helen accepted an invitation in August of 1952 to view the Miramichi region from a seat in a T-33 Jet Trainer, which experience she also shared in glorious detail with her readers.
And yet, for all her seemingly adventurous inclinations, Helen was also a very private person who enjoyed the quiet of her mid-town Newcastle apartment, the pleasures of books and music, and the congeniality of a few close friends.
Helen was predeceased by her husband Cyril E. Hayes, in 1948, by her infant son Brian in 1944, and by identical twin daughters Mary Rose and Margaret Jane in 1946. Also predeceasing her, in addition to her parents, were brother’s Cecil and Roy McWilliam, and sisters Charlotte Barry (F. Herbert), Miss Mona McWilliam, and Mrs. Edith MacAllister (Feldman). Helen was the last surviving member of her immediate family. She is survived by five nieces and four nephews and their respective children, who now keep alive the memory of a person of ability and vitality, though she, herself, be gone.