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Richard Ranttila
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Obituary for Jill Hays (Hays)

Jill Hays (Hays)
Jill Marie Hays died September 4, 2017, under hospice care at a friend’s home in Bennington, Vermont. She was 72.

Born April 4, 1945, in Saratoga Springs, New York, Jill spent most of her childhood in Williamstown, Massachusetts, although she traveled the States and Europe extensively in early adulthood. In 1978 she moved to Bennington, Vermont, to restore a Victorian-era house on Monument Avenue that would accommodate her growing book collection. Jill was a prolific writer, editor and accomplished poet. In addition to selling used and rare books, Jill worked for many years as a private tutor for students of all ages across many subjects, although her specialty was ESL.

Jill earned her degree in English Literature from Swarthmore College in 1967, graduating with High Honors. She went on to earn her master’s in Irish Literature from University College Dublin. A lifelong learner, Jill spoke several languages, including Irish, French and Japanese, and she loved exploring different cultures. 

After her cancer had progressed, Jill chose to have a “living” memorial service. Friends gathered shortly after her 70th birthday to celebrate her life and say their goodbyes. Jill arranged to have her body donated to the University of Vermont for medical research. She is survived by her daughter, Aislinn Hays O’Connor, and two granddaughters, Tully S. O’Connor and Finnula D. Hinson. A private memorial service will be held at a future date when Jill’s ashes are interred at her family cemetery plot in Saratoga, New York.
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