William Leroy Bay III passed away peacefully at Mission Hospital in Asheville, on March 22. He was seventy-four years old. He was a resident of Lake Lure, North Carolina.
Bill was born in Camden, New Jersey, in 1948. In the late sixties he was endearingly called a “six-oh-niner,” referring to the area code in the lower half of the state. He grew up in the communities of Marlton and Moorestown.
He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business from Monmouth University. He worked for the state of New Jersey’s Treasury Department for thirty-six years as an Investigator and Department Supervisor.
Bill filled a room. He was a big man: gentle, funny, sensitive, and kind. He was a good listener, affectionate, and generous. He loved Harleys, vintage automobiles, model trains; whiskey jugs, beer steins, loud Hawaiian shirts; Bonanza, Hop-a-long Cassidy, old westerns; roses; boating on Lake Lure, gardening, motorcycle touring; Scooter Trash the bull terrier; and sipping fine whiskey and tequila with family and friends.
He was married to Maureen O’Connell for forty-one years. They met on a blind date at Monmouth College, in the early seventies. She bedazzled him with a red dress, blond hair, and striking good looks. He swayed her with generosity, humor, and joie de vivre. Soon thereafter, Bill visited Moe’s parents, Chivas Regal in hand, to seek permission to live with their daughter. The night mostly gone, the bottle emptied, Moe’s stepfather consented. He and Bill had become fast friends.
Bill and Moe lived together, finished college, and tied the marriage knot officially, in autumn, 1980. The couple lived on the Jersey shore for nearly four decades. He worked for the state; she ran a successful small business.
Their passion for Harley motorcycles took them on road trips from Florida to Maine.
They kept coming back to Lake Lure. In the nineteen-nineties, they bought land there and plotted next steps. Bill retired; she sold her business; they finished building a splendid home in Lake Lure in the twenty-teens; they moved there permanently soon after.
Bill is survived by his wife, Maureen; sister Karina Bay, of Rhode Island; sisters-in-law Robyn Dale, of Indiana and Maggie George, of New Mexico; and brothers-in-law John O’Connell, of Pennsylvania, Daniel McLaughlin, of New Mexico, and Robert McLaughlin, of New Hampshire.
A funeral service will be held at 5pm in the Chapel of Forest Lawn Funeral Home on Sunday, March 27, 2022; a visitation will be available to the public from 3pm to 5pm.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Bill’s honor to the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge at: https://lakelurefloweringbridge.org/.