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James Hayhurst

James Hayhurst

Saturday, May 24th, 1941 - Saturday, February 29th, 2020
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Obituary

JIM HAYHURST SR Jim (Hurst/Dippy), son of Jean and Palmer Hayhurst, passed away February 29, 2020 at his farm near Collingwood, Ontario, surrounded by his children Cindy (Cid), Jim Jr. (Jimmy) and Barb (Boo), and his loyal dog, Scout. He spent his final days telling stories and sharing advice with his seven grandchildren (Ben, Statten, Quinn, Cameron, Tatum, Griffen, and PJ); supported by his kids-in-law Scott Hanson, Beth Hayhurst and Paddy Flynn; and remembering old times with his brothers George and Doug, plus countless friends who visited, called and wrote.
Jim never had a bucket list because “My life has been the most incredible series of people and adventures. Even I wouldn’t have come up with that list.”
In 1969, Jim caused an international incident by photographing Russians drinking Alberta Vodka in Red Square for an ad campaign. He devised infamous strategies at PC leadership races, including John Crosbie’s ill-fated blimp. He was part of the tiny but mighty Arctic Trading Company when they beat LL Bean and Neiman Marcus for “global catalogue of the year”. He invested in first-time entrepreneurs, often women, including the Kettle Creek Canvas Company and Smith & Jamieson Tea.
Through the 1970s and 80s, Jim and his team built Hayhurst Advertising into one of the top agencies in Canada, acquiring options to buy firms in 28 countries before selling to Saatchi & Saatchi in 1985.
Too young to retire, he committed himself to making a difference. He was the Chairman of Outward Bound Canada. He created the Hayhurst Career Centre, helping hundreds of people articulate their goals and achieve professional success. His “Wagon Master” metaphor captured his character better than any other title.
In 1988, he and Jimmy were members of the Canadian Everest Expedition, an experience that became a speech and best-selling book, The Right Mountain. Four years later, they co-founded Trails Youth Initiatives (Trails), an award-winning outdoor-based program that sees nearly 100% of its at-risk youth graduates complete post-secondary education. Trails was his last great love and he wanted everyone to know about it. He gave the best hugs – and always to those who needed them most – whether they were an inner-city kid wanting to give up or a Bay Street CEO wanting to give back. He did both in his final days.
Jim gave everyone nicknames and was adored by all who knew him. He was Canada Post’s favourite stop, every executive assistant’s favourite phone call and a trusted confidante to his kids’ friends – and friends’ kids.
Perhaps Boo put it best when she said, “He’s not glass half-full. He’s glass always-filling.”
He loved sharing his special places. The Funny Farm (where he and Swebbs welcomed many a “broken wing”), ski chalets (chaperoning kids’ parties with scotch and a novel), Naples, Caledon Mountain Trout Club, Toronto Golf, Olde Florida, and his beloved cottage on Smoke Lake, Algonquin Park where an evening of fishing always included Doritos, drinks in peanut butter jars, funny hats – and hopefully a “Wall Fish” caught on a fly rod.
His friends were eclectic – the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, a cowboy, an ex-con – but they all passed Jim’s litmus test: “Be interesting and interested”. They were loyal but they challenged him. They didn’t shy away from saying “I love you”.
Above all else – business, philanthropy, friendships, adventures – Jim was most proud of his children and grandchildren. He took Cid (“Cindy Lou Who”) to PC leadership conventions; shared a passion for horses and writing; and was a fixture in his fur coat and hat at Bennamin, Rooney and Whiff’s ski races. He taught Jimmy (“Dimmy”) about public speaking; explored the Arctic together on March Breaks; and cheered Stat Man, Quinnamon and Taters at their rugby and basketball games. He took Boo (“Lambchop”) fly-fishing in the UK; never left her side as she battled flesh-eating disease; and loved watching Wilbur play hockey (and remind his grandfather to remove his hat when entering the Osler Brook clubhouse).
Thanks to Drs. John Clifford and Chantal Perrot, Dying With Dignity and Canada’s evolving M.A.I.D. legislation, Jim left on his own terms. In life he taught us how to live. In death he taught us how to die.
If you are so inclined, please remember Trails Youth Initiatives with a donation to their Vision Fund, or with a bequest in your will, as he did.
A celebration of life will take place in early May in Collingwood.
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7 trees have been planted in memory of James Hayhurst
JL

Jacqueline Lilley

Posted at 01:46pm
I never met Jim, but heard about him through my mum, Adrienne Lilley, who spoke highly of him (and his family). I remember reading his book, The Right Mountain, many years ago, after my mum gave a copy to my sister, brother and me. I was impressed and inspired by Jim’s tremendous accomplishments and generosity. Then, coincidentally, I happened upon his obituary last week while discarding some old newspapers. Sending my sincerest condolences to his family.
BB

Brian Follett (Vancouver Island BC)

Posted at 03:47pm
I had the privilege of working for, with and beside Jim at “Hayhurst” from December 1969, through my transfer to Hayhurst, Vancouver and on, until the Agency became Saatchi & Saatchi in 1985. He was my mentor, my guide, my sounding board, my cheerleader, my quiet counsellor, my coach, and thankfully and most importantly, through it all, …. one of my true and trusted friends. I have more than 15 years of experiences, laughter, anguish, excitement, risks and rewards, some downs and mostly ups and an incredible bank of very happy memories from all my years in the “Agency”. Jim is more or less a part of all of them. His hand on my shoulder, the quiet word in my ear, the occasional extra nudge of encouragement, his always-open door and his care and concern for my family and I during and even after the sale of the business are images and memories that come flooding back.

Thanks again Jim. You helped mark the trail and you kept all the promises you made along the way. It would not have been as successful a ride, nor as much fun, nor as emotionally fulfilling without you as my wagon master.

My family and I offer our most sincere and heartfelt condolences to his family and all the friends who will miss this special man, his inspiration and the generous humanity he shared with so many us.
K

Keith Bullen

Posted at 04:59pm
Just now have been advised of the passing of One Jim Hayhurst. Good memories of this fine Gentleman came in like a tidal wave.The Christmas Parties , the people , the food ,his wonderful family , the simple fun of it all, and the joy of having been a neighbour to this extra special guy. Keith KB Bullen
JW

Jodi White

Posted at 04:10pm
Jim really was larger than life. Our families had been friends many years ago in Toronto, so we had known each other for a long time, including time on Smoke Lake for me and my brothers. Our paths crossed later on when we both toiled for the long-gone Progressive Conservative Party. Then, after the electoral defeat in 1993, I asked him to help with the 40 or so people in the PMO who were out of a job and had to find their 'Right Mountain" (myself included!) He was always a huge presence in whatever space he occupied. And he was a born mentor, offering lots of sage advice to many, many people. May you all treasure your memories of a wonderful man-- a big guy with a big smile.
Jodi White.
RB

Ron&Judy Begg

Posted at 03:40pm
Fondly remembered as a good man, a good friend and the much loved adopted “Uncle Jim” to our 5 children, Jim was an important part of our lives for decades. Known in some quarters as Wagon Master for his inspiration and mentorship to so many in business, Jim was also the Ring Master when our families got together for vacations, birthdays, weddings and other adventures so often hatched and led by him.
For many years there were the ‘boys only” weekends, again led by Jim for fishing, golf or skiing. To add an air of mystery and to hint at a wisp of skulduggery, we named our quartet R.A.F.T. and proclaimed to those that enquired about the meaning that we were all sworn to secrecy. The truth is that our outings were harmless and none of us could actually remember what R.A.F.T stood for- we decided that the original naming must have involved some Glenfiddich.
Heartfelt condolences especially to Cindy, Barbara, Jim Jr and also to all family and friends who will miss our old friend.
Ron & Judy Begg
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