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March 11, 2023

I met Neil probably around 20 years ago, but really got to know him when I joined the board of FOS. Over the last 10 years Neil and I became friends. We enjoyed time in the Gunks hiking and biking.
When I succeeded Neil as President of FOS, he became a mentor. Neil wasn’t just smart, he had wisdom. I would sometimes rely on him when an important issue would come up with FOS. I often found myself saying “I better run this past Neil…”.

One of my favorite memories was the annual New Year’s Day hike out to Hidden Pond for a toast and warm soup with friends. One year it was freezing cold. The lake was frozen. Some of the dogs that came along were playing out on the ice. I didn’t think anyone was looking as I stepped out onto the ice to test the thickness. I immediately heard someone shout “JOHN!!”. I turned around to see Neil sitting a little distance away, slowly shaking his head, as in “NO”. I backed off the ice…

Loretta and I will dearly miss Neil.

- John Hayes