On July 6, 2019, at the family second home at Northstar in Truckee, California, Ralph William Hayward suffered a fatal heart attack. He was 76 years old.
He was born on January 26, 1943, in Colchester, England, attended the University of London and in 1965 earned a BSc. in Estate Management.
In May 1969, Ralph joined developers Grosvenor Estates of London and traveled with his new wife, Gillian, to Hawaii to be part of a fledgling project that was to become Wailea on Maui. Sons Richard and Miles were born in the islands and they enjoyed 10 years of sailing inter island from the Waikiki Yacht Club and happy weekends at their beach house on the North Shore of Oahu.
In 1979, Grosvenor opened an office in San Francisco and the family moved to Tiburon. He continued with the Grosvenor organization in various capacities and at the time of his retirement in 2002 was chief executive officer of Grosvenor Americas and Grosvenor Group Holdings/UK, with responsibilities for development and investment projects throughout the world, including Australia, Asia, Canada, Europe, South America and the United States.
Upon retirement, he turned his career skills towards the nonprofit sector and served on the Satellite Affordable Housing Association board of directors for over 18 years, with much of that time as president. Under his leadership, the company grew from a small local nonprofit housing developer with a dozen staff to one of the largest in the Bay Area, with over 75 properties and 200 staff. He was loved, respected and admired by fellow board members and staff for his real-estate expertise, his passion to help others, his diplomacy and his inimitable humor.
In Marin, Ralph was involved with the Ross Valley Ecumenical Housing Association (RVEHA), a nonprofit providing housing for low-income seniors, for 16 years. He helped the small nonprofit through its expansion of building a second facility and raising funds to avoid having debt. He served as the treasurer with four board presidents, providing stability and financial security. He was a friend to the residents and board members alike, always with a smile and a positive word.
Dividing time between Tiburon and Tahoe, his life was filled with activities including squash, tennis, golf, sailing, and skiing. He was a member of the Harbor Point Tennis Club, University Club of San Francisco, a life member of the Corinthian Yacht Club and member of the Pacific Union Club of San Francisco for 34 years.
He was an avid fan and aficionado of jazz of all genres, a supporter of music in the Bay Area, and benefactor of the legendary Keystone Korner in San Francisco prior to its closing in 1983. He held true to his mantra of “work hard, play hard,” was an eternal optimist and Monty Python fan, personified by his frequent singing and whistling of “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.”
His is survived by Gillian, his wife of 50 years; sons Richard and Miles; and granddaughter Bremze Bowie Hayward. Plans are pending for a future remembrance event.
Donations in his name can be made to:
The Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society
PO Box 302
El Granada, CA 94018
PO Box 99165
Emeryville, CA 94662
PO Box 2969
San Anselmo, CA 94979