By Charlie Senack, Barrhaven Independent
It was an overcast Saturday over the Victoria Day long-weekend when Rob Hayami was out doing what he loved: golf.
Hayami was at the Cedarhill Golf Course with his young son when the rare Derecho storm hit, bringing with it wind gusts equivalent to an EF2 tornado. They headed to the clubhouse in a golf cart to seek shelter, but the 49-year-old father never made it there. A tree toppled onto the cart pinning Hayami, who later died in hospital. His son Owen was treated at CHEO and has since been released.
At least 10 people died across Ontario when the storm hit, including a few in the Ottawa area. Tens of thousands were left without power for days, tens of thousands of trees toppled over, and the local hydro grid was crushed. Over a month later cleanup efforts are still ongoing and Hydro Ottawa has put the damage price tag at $30 million.
Friends and family are remembering Hayami for his talent and love of music. He played both guitar and piano, and enjoyed singing songs, especially by Neil Young and Bob Dylan.
While at the Civic Hospial fighting for his life, friends and family gathered in the parking lot with their guitars in hopes he would hear.
“The man was in so many circles it was mind boggling. He was a gem of a guy and his passing is a huge loss to many,” his friend Pater MacKenzie Hammond posted on Facebook.
A GoFundMe page has now been started for eight-year-old Owen. On Facebook John Stacey wrote on the Carine Wilson High School Illumini page: “We are all heartbroken, sad, angry and confused. However if you knew Rob, his gift of presence, giving and positivity brings peace and love. Let’s continue the Wildcat spirit and support our brother Robert Toshio Hayami.”
The page has already raised over $17,000 in support.
“Rob’s sudden passing has turned Owen and Kristine’s lives upside down,” the GoFundMe page reads. “Rob won’t be there for all the little things like tucking his son into bed at night, or helping coach his son to victory, or cheering on their favorite hockey team, the Ottawa Senators. He won’t be there to celebrate milestones either, like when Owen graduates from school.”
Hayami was born in Montreal but raised in Orleans. He studied business at the University of Ottawa before moving to Amsterdam for the final year of his post-secondary education. Back in Ottawa, he worked in a series of high tech jobs.
The 49-year-old was a U9 Assistant Coach with the Nepean Minor Hockey Association, and used to work at 160 Elgin downtown, according to a friend and former colleague.
The father of one’s proudest moment was being a Dad, and if he wasn’t lacing it up on the ice with Owen, he was on the golf course or at a tennis court. He had a love for the Ottawa Senators and frequently attended their games where he could be heard cheering the loudest.
Rob Hayami leaves behind his wife Kristine McGillivray, his cherished son Owen, and loving parents Hiroshi and Jane Hayami. His obituary reads: “Rob was a brother and best friend to Geoff (Jodi), and Steven (Jamie), devoted son-in-law to Peggy and Don (deceased) McGillivray, and brother-in-law to Jennifer (Larry), Scott (Joanna), Daniel. He was a fun and caring uncle to Alex, Matthew, Sara, Mia, Connor, Blake, Kierra, Whitley, Hailee.”
To donate to the GoFundMe click here: