William “Bill” Lee Hayden


William “Bill” Lee Hayden


Bill Hayden
Bill Hayden

William “Bill” Lee Hayden, of Billings, died January 22, 2015, at his home. His final days were spent surrounded by family and friends that Bill had touched in so many ways throughout his memorable life.

Bill was born on January 5, 1943, in Hot Springs, South Dakota, to Ward and Darlene Hayden and grew up loving the mountain type country. Moving to Jamestown, North Dakota, with his parents in 1955, he attended junior high and graduated from high school in 1961. He attended North Dakota State University in Fargo followed by graduating from the Spartan School of Aeronautics where he received a Federal Aviation Administration Airframe Power Plant Certificate and an Inspection Authorization Certificate. He attended many training schools which helped maintain the highest standards of quality and professionalism he set for himself throughout his aviation career.

In 1972, Bill moved to Billings and worked for Gillis Aviation as the company’s Maintenance Service Manager. There he worked until the company was purchased by Corporate Air in 1986. Bill served numerous positions with Corporate Air which included Maintenance Director, Assistant Director, Training Coordinator, and Special Projects Manager.  He took great pride in quality workmanship not only at work, but at home as well. Bill meticulously laid well-thought out plans for projects big and small ranging from award-winning Christmas displays on his property to recently building a dresser for his three-year-old twin granddaughters in Seattle. His attention to detail, passion for finding solutions to difficult problems and ensuring excellent, high quality results were all qualities which made him one of a kind at Corporate Air, and at home with family.

Bill married Janne Marlene Watson, of Billings, on September 3, 1982.  He dedicated his life to spending time with his family as the simplest things in life gave him the most pleasure. Weekends were spent fishing on the Boulder River, or actively participating at his children’s swimming competitions as part of the Billings Aquatic Club. Later in life, Bill enjoyed traveling with Janne in their motorhome with their dogs, visiting family and friends in Seattle, Rapid City and Las Vegas. If they weren’t traveling, Bill and Janne would be spending time at their cabin in Roberts.

As his children grew up, and “Dad” became “Papa,” he provided his grandchildren the essentials of life – unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort and life lessons. Nobody could do for his grandchildren what “Papa” could do.

Bill was diagnosed with cancer in 2006. He was an inspiration to his family and friends as his battle with cancer was not defined by his survival, but by how he lived after his diagnosis, why he lived, and in the manner in which he lived. He never lost heart and always put the needs and concerns of his family before his own. Bill leaves behind his wife of 32 years, Janne; his daughter, Carmen Hayden, his sons Scott Hayden (Susan),Brian and Jason (Leigh) Watson; his ten grandchildren, Cameron, Grace, Jeff, Randy, Caroline, Claire, Lacey, Brandon, Kurtis and Kelsie; his mother, Darlene; and many close friends.

Family will receive friends for visitation on Monday from 6-8 p.m., at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary.  The casket will be open prior to services.  Funeral Services will be held at 10 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 27, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary, 1001 Alderson Ave. Interment will follow at Yellowstone Valley Memorial Park.

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  1. Michael and Marion Jablin

    Jan and Family We are very sorry to hear about Bill passing. We remember all the great time and miles we put on together while out kids went to swim meets from one end of the state to the other.
    We hope you can lean on each other to help you through the hard times.

  2. Dearest Janne,

    You and Bill were the bright spot on our annual trips to Las Vegas. The moment Ron and I met you two, we fell in love with you both. We enjoyed great fellowship, laughs, trips to the buffets and discussions about who won more at the slots. Thank you for your friendship and love, we have truly met friends for a lifetime. Thank you for all that you mean to us and what you have given to us. We are always here as a stopover on your way to Seattle….

    Bill, Ron and I will miss you and your great laugh and huge smile and even bigger heart. No one will ever replace you or fill the void you filled each and every time we hugged and greeted after being separated by time and miles. We love you and loved you the moment we met. We can’t wait to greet you once again at heaven’s gate. Until we hug again….

    All our love your friends from Vancouver, WA

    Ron & Carla White

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