Irene W. Hayward
"Traveling with Purpose" Irene Hayward was free of suitcases and carry-on bags when she journeyed on Friday, October 14. The family encircled her in the living room, singing, “Goodnight Irene,” “Amazing Grace,” “I’m Leaving on a Jet Plane,” and “Let it Be.” While we were singing “Over the River and Through the Woods,” at 9:18 p.m., she took her last breath and passed. In doing so, Irene joined her parents and other loving family members. She also joined the exodus of travelers who have passed from this world who, over the years, participated in the tours that she and her husband, Chuck Hayward, offered to the community for more than 35 years. Irene, a 1954 graduate of Massachusetts General Hospital’s nursing program, and Chuck guided thousands of people during more than 100 cultural tours in countries on 5 continents. Through both their own tour organization called Hayward Cultural Tours and their work with the Springfield Library and Museums Association, Irene and Chuck visited so many places that they jokingly remarked, “We know the location of the ladies’ rooms in virtually all of the world’s most famous museums.” For decades, they followed the footsteps of Winslow Homer, Vincent Van Gogh, Michelangelo and Tut Ankh Amen among innumerable others. Irene’s job was to see that the trip Chuck designed was executed flawlessly. One traveler remembers that Irene “genuinely cared about each and every person she encountered with compassion and a zest for life. There was nothing casual or routine in the way that Irene ran the travel program. The people under her care were her priority, and that had a huge impact on me.” Admirers of this wonderful woman include bus drivers, participants, guides and staff at the destination; Irene was instinctively tuned in to them on so many levels. Irene developed pneumonia that led to her passing. We in her family honored her wishes and brought her home from the hospital under the compassionate expertise of Baystate VNA and Hospice and HomeWatch CareGivers. Through the care of these angels and shepherds, we were able to be together in her last hours, supporting her passage and one another. Most importantly, she left us from the comfort of her home. Irene’s parents were Francis and Lillian Webler from Agawam. Her brothers are Roy and Bob Webler, and sisters-in-law are Dottie and Pat. Her children are Kathryn, Matthew and Jonathan, and children-in-law are David, Lorna, Robin and Patty. Her grandchildren are Jeremy, Hilaria, Julia, Andrew, Justin and Christopher, and grandchildren-in-law are Maria and Alec. Her great-grandchildren are Gabriel, Carmen, Rafael and Leonardo. Her brother-in-law is Pierce Hayward and his wife is Jane. On November 13 at 3 p.m., we will hold a Celebration of Irene's Life at the Springfield Museums. If your journey has been touched by this special woman, join us. Please contact Lauren Shea at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 413-263-6800, ext. 462, by Friday, November 4, and let us know you are coming. Feel free to prepare some words of remembrance that you can share with the gathering. If you write your thoughts for us, we will include them in a memorial book. In lieu of flowers, we ask that you make gifts in the form of donations to Baystate Hospice Services in honor of Irene, who embraced philanthropy. For further information, you can contact the Baystate Health Foundation at 280 Chestnut St., Springfield, MA 01104, 413-794-1676, baystatehealth.org/bhf .
... Show More