There was not a dry eye in the house when friends and family gathered on Feb. 10 at a memorial service for Bill Hayes. The actor — who passed away on Jan. 12 after playing DAYS OF OUR LIVES legacy character Doug Williams since 1970 — was remembered during the moving tribute not just as a beloved colleague, but as a faithful husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and friend.
The celebration of life service took place at First Christian Church of North Hollywood, where Hayes and his wife, Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie), were longtime parishioners. Among those who delivered heartfelt eulogies were Hayes’ daughter, Carrie Huff, grandson David Samuel, granddaughter Betty Jackson, and DAYS executive producer Ken Corday.
“Bill Hayes was the embodiment of the immortal words ‘the show must go on,’” Corday shared. “Bill was the ultimate pro. Any of us that worked with him knew this and knew this for 50 years. Bill was so darn lovable. That quality shined forth throughout his incomparable career on television as well as in his rich personable life.”
When it came time for her to stand at the pulpit and speak about her beloved late husband, Seaforth Hayes embodied grace during her time of grief—even beginning her eulogy by joking that the crowd was the most positive audience she will ever face. “The look of love. Bill Hayes had it and made this world shine with it, especially when he was looking at us,” Hayes’ widow began, going on to share stories about her husband’s childhood, time as a Navy pilot during World War II, his love of baseball and the piano, and career as an entertainer.
“Why did we all love him so much? Because he saw us. Bill gave everyone — a visitor at his door or a troubled grandchild — a smiling greeting that was full of optimistic expectation,” Seaforth Hayes shared. “But he saw in us something wonderful, and we became, in his company, as wonderful as we all want to be. No surprise, his favorite movie was Love Actually. He was passionately reaching out to people his whole life long, with a song, a story, and that look of love, love that transcends time and lifts us all into the light sublime where creation never ends and we all are shining, too. May his love live on to warm you in his light. And oh, how bright is Billy’s light.”
Hayes’ memorial was live-streamed on First Christian Church’s YouTube channel, and you can watch the service in its entirety below.