Dave Hadley 1927-2000
In February, well-known sailor in Windward Island waters Dave Hadley died of natural causes aboard his beloved Amel ketch Tiempo while at anchor in Martinique. Born in Montreal in 1927, the long-time resident of Grenada was doing what he liked to do best: cruising with family and friends.
At the age of 15, Dave and his brother Gord bought their first sailboat, a run down wreck of a ketch which, as he liked to say, they spent "more time bailing than sailing". As a teenager he worked summers to pay for the wood and supplies needed to build his own boat, which he did with the practical advice of his grandfather. It was a Y-Flyer, the precursor to the fast, Olympic style racing boats which became so popular years later. He was a talented sailor and a driven competitor. Throughout his life he loved to race, winning many cups in Montreal, both as a youth, and later on into his middle age.
After moving to California, Dave entered into the exciting new field of microwave telecommunications, a technology that allowed people in remote and difficult to reach areas to communicate with each other. This work involved much travelling in Europe and Latin America. After the birth of children Karen and Kim, Dave and his wife Pat moved to Venezuela, where Lia was born. While living there, he and Pat discovered, with the help of their friend Jeanne Fisher, the island of Grenada. During their time in Venezuela the whole family often came to Grenada for vacation, with Pat and the kids staying for months in rented homes. There they developed their love for the island and its people and their way of life. And this love formed itself into the plan of moving there, one day, to start a new life. During these years he and Pat made many friends, and those friendships ripened over time.
After moving back to California, the birth of Daniel, and then a move back to Montreal, there was more travel: frequent trips to Grenada and sailing trips up the Grenadines, sailing in Greece and Turkey, skiing trips to Europe and North America. Dave started an ice-boat syndicate which allowed friends and business partners to come to Montreal in the winter and experience the thrills of high-speed sailing over ice, and the warmth of good soup and sandwiches by the fireplace. He was always a gregarious and sociable person and loved to set up opportunities for people from all walks of life to come together.
At the age of 50, Dave Hadley found that the pressures of work were outweighing the pleasures and excitement, and he decided that it was time to make that lifelong dream come true early retirement and a new life based around sailing and Grenada. Adjustment to this new life meant redirecting his energies and talents, which he did through sailing, ham radio, backgammon, the Westerhall Point Residents Association, and the blessed arrival of the personal computer. For Dave, the changes in communications over the last decades had a particular resonance. The opportunities for communication over long distances and in hard to reach areas that computers, new digital technologies, E-mail, the internet, and cellular and satellite phones all afforded him great pleasure. This had after all been an area that he had pioneered, at a time when most of the large multinational companies saw no opportunities.
Retirement suited Dave, and while he kept a hand in his old field, and seemed always to be studying new business opportunities in Grenada, the time and freedom which life here provided was a daily source of pleasure and amazement to him. Summers were spent with family and friends on the coast of British Columbia, and aboard Tiempo in such diverse destinations as France, Scotland, Newfoundland and Cuba. He and Pat also found that there were great travel opportunities to be had as passengers, and they travelled on working freighters and explorer vessels through the Northwest passage to Greenland, up the MacKenzie river, and along the south coast of Chile. In Australia he got to sail the Great Barrier Reef and even managed to fulfill another life long dream by sky-diving to celebrate his 70th birthday.
Dave Hadley died quickly, without pain, in company of friends and with
Pat, on his boat in a hurricane hole. Everyone says that he would have
wanted it that way. He never liked good-byes. To quote from Thomas Hardy
on the death of his wife in the poem `Without Ceremony':
So, now that you disappear
For ever in that swift style,
Your meaning seems to me
Just as it used to be:
"Good-bye is not worth while!"
Thanks to the Hadley family for this eulogy.
Copyright© 2000 Compass Publishing