MARIETTA, GA.—Abraham Lincoln said, “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” That is how many people have described wool industry veteran Stewart Hay, who lost his battle with cancer July 7. He was 55.
“His legacy starts now; we can live on as the example he set,” said Eric Scharff, vice president, Hibernia Woolen Mills. “He was a great leader, friend and boss. As a boss he taught me lessons and also let me learn on my own. As a friend he was the best, like a brother sometimes; like a father others.”
Hay was born Jan. 30, 1956, in Christchurch, New Zealand, and began his wool industry career with Christchurch Carpet Yarns. In 1987 he became vice president of operations for the American branch of Wool Works. In 1993, Hay acquired all New Zealand holdings of the company and renamed it Glen Eden Wool Carpet with headquarters in Calhoun, Ga., as a maker of luxury carpet and rugs for the residential, commercial, aviation and marine sectors.
Under Hay’s leadership, Glen Eden became internationally respected with numerous prestigious installations in Bucking- ham Palace and The White House, as well as for several celebrities, including Madonna and Robert Redford.
Hay sold the company to Davis & Davis Rugs in 2009. He remained president of the Glen Eden division for another year before joining Nourison in February 2010 as vice president of its tufted division.
“I have always found him to be a very gentle person and a pleasure to work with,” said Alex Peykar, a principal at Nourison. “He had a wealth of knowledge about wool carpets. His passing is a big loss to us as well as to his many friends and colleagues.”
Elise Demboski, vice president of creative services for Mohawk, said, “Stewart loved life and embraced it in every way. Our close-knit industry has lost a special friend but will long remember…the laughter and smiles he shared with us all.”
Hallie Cobb, marketing and training director, North America, Wools of New Zealand, called Hay “a good friend. He was a loyal and generous supporter of Wools of New Zealand— always willing to help in our efforts.”
Hay is survived by his wife, Lexis Kaye Hay; two sons, Alastair and Cameron; two daughters, Fiona and Machaelie; mother, Andree Hay; sister Judith (Brian) Hayman, and brothers Peter (Raelyn) and John (Lisa).
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Hay’s honor to the First Presbyterian Church of Marietta Youth Missions, 189 Church Street, Marietta, GA 30060.