Marshfield mourns the passing of ‘Hap’ Hayward
MARSHFIELD — Townspeople are mourning a man who they say was a devoted public servant.
Harold “Hap” Hayward, 88, died Thursday. He served with the Marshfield Volunteer Fire Department for 50 years, including as fire chief. He was also the town’s tax collector and a member of the school board, among many civic activities. (For the full obituary, see page B3.)
Ronald Pitkin served as assistant fire chief under Hayward as far back as the early 1970s, and he remembers Hayward as a “wonderful, cheerful, unassuming guy” who was very public-minded. For most of his adult life Hayward ran the local sawmill, the Hayward and Gilman Lumber Co., and Pitkin said whenever there was a fire in town, Hayward would shut the mill down and he and his employees would all head out together to put the fire out.
“Everybody liked him,” he said. “It would be hard not to like him.”
Select Board Chairman John Warshow said Hayward was a good friend to many and the kind of person you’d like to have more of in your town.
“He had a special way about him — a little twinkle in his eye,” Warshow said. “Unfortunately, we seem to be changing generations here a little too quickly.”
Tom Maclay also knew Hayward for many years, in part through their shared work in the Fire Department. He agreed with Warshow, characterizing Hayward as “a really fine man” who donated much of his time and expertise to the community over the years, including his carpentry skills in helping rebuild the old firehouse as well as building parts of the new firehouse.
Hayward’s many contributions to Marshfield are well known to those who have lived in town for a while. But as the years pass and new generations come along, the old-timers will need to share the legacy of “Hap.”
“Probably two-thirds of the people in town don’t even know who he was,” Maclay said with a chuckle — or how much Hayward gave of himself to the town.
Pitkin is the sexton for the town’s cemetery. “Every year I’m burying more and more friends,” he said. “You suddenly realize that time is just marching on and it keeps going no matter what the rest of us do.”
eric.blaisdell @timesargus.comMORE IN Central Vermont
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