Sept.10 - 16, 2015 www.vallartatribune.com
Tribute to a Community Leader; Philo Hayward By Cindy Bouchard
eturning to La Cruz I realize that in the six years I’ve lived here this is the second time I’ve returned with a heavy heart. The first time was momentous… as I walked into the bar, Philo calls to me from his music perch; “Welcome home Cindy, so sorry to hear about your dad”. Others echoed his sentiment… tears flowed. That was Philo, that is our community, such love! Now, returning home early from vacation to be with our friends, our family, my hearts sinks… it difficult to fathom reintegrating to such pain. Such tragic loss, there are no words, the feeling sucks. B R E A T H E, I remind myself, over and over. Walking into Philo’s bar without Philo is the hardest we’ve all done. Community comes together to cry, hug, share stories and grieve. A sense of community resonates as the greatest gift of living in a small Mexican town. In my experience, the locals embrace those who love their town enough to pack up their belongings and change their lives, drastically, embracing a new world. Generally known as ‘expats’ we come together in fun, we give back to the community and we support each other in various ways sharing tips, techniques and information on navigating our new land. This week the heart of our town of La Cruz hurts. People are paying tribute to our friend and supporting those he left behind. We’re all here for Maria, Alejandro and Diego. Family and friends are arriving from a far. Good friend, Kathleen Dobek shared about the many events; “Russ and I were at Philo’s club for almost 5 hours on Sunday for the wake/novena. We finally went home for dinner, having no idea the gathering would continue until midnight. I was told that after we left, even more of our Mexican neighbors came and the women sang, and that it was very moving. Oscar Fuentes arrived last night. I was part of a small group that walked behind the hearse to the Church on Monday. While we walked, the women sang the novena, and then Sandra Marquez sang a beautiful song in Spanish. She later told me that it had the line, “he left by boat”, and that she sang it because Philo arrived by boat. The mass at the La Cruz church was very nice and very emotional. A woman with a beautiful voice sang while Esau and Daniel played (of Tatewari). Dogs wandered in and out.
By Kathleen Dobek saying Everybody still here who knew Philo was at his club afternoon, sharing memories, comforting each other, even laughing amidst the tears. ” The church was packed and there were as many Mexicans as expats. One of the Mexican women got up and recounted all that Philo had done for the community. At one point, the four women who are responsible for the founding and operations of the Casa de la Tecer Edad got up and stood at each corner of the casket. We all slowly followed the hearse back to Philo’s, and then about 4 vehicles formed the procession behind the hearse and we drove to the crematorium on the other side of Pitillal. There we said our last goodbyes. Oscar, Peggy and Leon were with us to support Maria, as well her brother and a few others. Philo’s ashes are now at his club. We are a saddened, quiet group, still trying to accept this. Philo’s legacy will continue in La Cruz.” Philo wore many hats; friend, father, son, brother, cousin, uncle, musician, mentor, philanthropist and community leader, we celebrated Philo Hayward on June 26th at his combined party for his 75th birthday and the 15th anniversary of Philo’s bar. No one could imagine that the vibrant man humbled by this gathering of people celebrating him would leave us so soon. To say he left a legacy is an understatement; first in Mendocino, California where the music program he created kept kids entertained so they stayed out of trouble and then in La Cruz. His influence/participation/service helped youth in our town, assisted seniors, helped keep our town clean, provided needed items in the schools and
purchased medical assistance for those in need. I’ve only been in La Cruz for the past 6 years but mention fundraising for a cause and Philo’s name always comes up. Inconceivably, on September 5th, Philo was taken from us, that great big heart that loved and loved was tired and had no more to give. La Cruz will never be the same but because of him it is better than before he strolled up the street, guitar in hand and mentioned that the place he was playing would be perfect for a bar. They sold it to him. Over the years Philo’s Bar has become a hangout, a place of comfort and refuge, a home away from home for so many To read more about Philo and what brought him here. http://www.villaamordelmar. com/characters-philo-hayward/ I asked others to pay tribute to our friend; here is what they said. Philo laid the cobble stone road of goodwill in La Cruz making it easy for all to follow his path of generosity and human kindness. Hans Peterman, La Cruz, Mexico We are honored and blessed to call Philo our friend. Because of him our life is richer with the many friends we have met thru Philo. Philo’s Bar was a boat cruisers place, a meeting place, a gathering place, and became a landmark in the community of La Cruz. It won’t be the same, but we hope it can continue... Adios Compadre. ~ Dan and Debbie Orlando, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico From the time I met Philo in 1999 I knew he was a special man.
I was chosen to help him develop his dream. What a special time I had with him and tried to duplicate his helping of people in my ventures. I’m sure the entire Bahia de Banderas will miss this great human being. Sandy Coffen I first discovered the gem of La Cruz de Huanacaxtle about 8 years ago. I was looking for a new home and visited with my sister. Our first night in town we were told about Philo’s Bar, we were welcomed by Philo and his team and felt at home immediately. The decision to purchase my home in La Cruz was greatly influenced by my experience at Philo’s, may Philo’s presence always be felt in our town. Condolences to his family, friends and the community. Annette Daniels, La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. Put quite simply, Philo was an Ambassador for La Cruz, an Ambassador for Mexico and most of all, an Ambassador for music. Michael Crane, La Cruz, Mexico Philo encouraged me to pick up my guitar again after 40 years of silence. A year later, he let me stand on his stage and play along. Two years later I began standing on his stage full time, two nights a week. Without Philo Hayward I would still be wishing I remembered how to play. I will be forever grateful. Michael McIntyre, Originally from Chicago now lives in La Cruz. La Cruz will be in a vacuum!! Philo was responsible for getting me started in music. I’ll never forget him. ~ Russell Cresto Dearly loved, much admired, mentor to so many and friends to all.
I had only known Philo for 2 years, which is such a small amount of time in comparison to so many others. Many Banderas bay folks know Philo for his band, “Philo Hayward and the Shuffle Band” for the live music and fun times at Philo’s Bar in La Cruz. He had just received his Mexican Citizenship earlier this year and was very proud of that. During the short time I knew Philo he showed me great kindness, professionalism and honor. He was an excellent and genuine hugger; a person who really cared from his heart. I witnessed so many different ways that Philo helped everyone who crossed his path, from large groups to individuals and I enjoyed writing about them. I was so blessed to be able to attend his 70th birthday party earlier this year with his La Cruz neighbors and surrounding communities, where he was honored with so many plaques of appreciation and videos from those both near and afar who could not attend. Philo was deeply touched and looking back, this was such a fortuitous and presentiment sendoff to such a prominent part of his adopted land and the expat community. Philo’s partner and love of his life, Maria Joaquina Sierra has stated many times, “We have lost the Captain of our Ship”, he was, “Captain” for so many. Many blessings of love go out to Maria and the children at this time. May you rest in peace Philo Hayward; and many blessings of grace for your transition. Our memories of you will always live within all of us; your legacy never forgotten. ~ Cat Morgan
Published on Sep 9, 2015
The Vallarta Tribune is the longest running free English language newspaper in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We publish weekly through the year a...