BURLINGTON - Leland (Lee) Gordon Hayford, 77, died on Nov. 17, 2008, at Fletcher Allen Healthcare from injuries sustained in an automobile accident on Sept. 28, 2008.
Lee was born on Nov. 28, 1930, on a country farm in Wrightsville to Ida Bell Payette. He attended a one room school house for the first four years of his education then attended schools in Montpelier. He graduated from Montpelier High School in 1950. Lee was a three-sport athlete (football, basketball and baseball) and was captain on the 1949 Vermont State Championship Basketball Team.
Lee was a Korean War veteran who was honorably discharged in 1954, as a Gunners Mate 1st Class after serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Calvert APA 32 from 1950 to 1954.
Lee worked as a foreman for Green Mountain Power for 25 years and for the Vermont Electric Company for 15 years. After retirement, he became a park ranger for the State of Vermont at Jamaica State Park and Silver Lake State Park. He also worked at GS Precision in Brattleboro. Lee spent his last years in Florida, working as a corrections officer for the Sarasota Sheriff's Department for 11 years and spent the last five years with Home Depot in Sarasota, Fla.
Lee, also known as "Buck" to his family and friends, was happiest when he was spending time with his family: cooking, visiting and walking the dogs with his daughter Heidi; being a spectator at his children's and grandchildren's sporting events; enjoying the great outdoors - camping with family on the coast of Maine and the White Mountains of New Hampshire; and being an avid hunter and hiker, completing the Long Trail, in 1972, with his son Buddy. He never missed a UVM soccer game while his son Scott was on the team from 1982-85. He was proud to say he traveled over 19,000 miles to matches all over New England. Lee also enjoyed his softball days spent "behind the plate" on the Brattleboro Reformer Team, celebrating softball wins at the Country Kitchen with his friends and teammates, rocking on the Wheeler Farm porch with his friend Henry, as well as refereeing high school basketball games.
Lee is survived by his son, Buddy Hayford and his wife, Cindy, as well as their children, Kate and Scott of Wilmington; his daughter, Heidi Mahute, and her husband, Bryan; his son, Scott Hayford, and his wife, Mary of Jacksonville, Fla.; Lee's former wife, Cindy Bliss Hayford; his sisters, Louise Beaudin, Barbara Felch, Helen Goodrich, Lorraine Miller, Glenna Labounty; and his brother, Marshall Payette. He was predeceased by his former wife, Carole Anne Guerin; his mother, Ida Payette; his brother, Earle Colbeth; and a sister, Evelyn Corrow.
According to his wishes, no service will be held at this time. A small family memorial service is planned for next summer at the Veterans Cemetery in Randolph, Vermont. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Twin Valley High School c/o the General Athletic Fund (1 School Street, Wilmington, VT 05363). Contributions will support student participation in the Vermont State Athletic Director's Association Leadership Conference held every spring.