Hugh Bayliff

Nov 25, 1958 – Dec 14, 2017
Hugh Bayliff died suddenly on December 14th, 2017.  He was 59.  

Hugh was the eldest son of Tim and Merle Bayliff.  He was named after his great-grandfather Hugh P.L. Bayliff, one of the earliest European immigrants to settle in Tsilhqot’in (Chilcotin) country, west of the Fraser River.  Hugh was raised at Chilancoh Ranch, first settled by his great-grandfather.

Hugh attended Poplar Grove Elementary on the Chezacut Road and then graduated from Columneetza in Williams Lake in 1976. Hugh later attended Olds College in Alberta where he received a diploma in Livestock Production.

Although deeply rooted in the Chilcotin, Hugh loved to see other parts of the world and experience other cultures. In his late 20’s, Hugh spent a year working on farms in Switzerland and Australia as a participant in the International Agriculture Exchange Association. Later, Hugh travelled independently to East and South Africa, South America, and with his family to Peru, Mexico, Germany and the States.

Hugh also loved to fly. He could not qualify for a regular pilot’s license because he was diabetic and so, with the assistance of Ray Fletcher from Knife Creek, Hugh built and learned to fly a Lazair ultra-light aircraft. He spent many joyful hours searching for cattle, checking the range, landing “between the rocks” in remote opens, taking photographs from the air and generally relishing the privilege of a bird’s eye view of the country he loved.  

After his travels, Hugh began working at Chilancoh Ranch alongside his father, Tim, and once he married, gradually took over from his father. He also actively participated in the Chilcotin Stockmen’s Association, the Cariboo Cattlemens Association and the B.C. Cattlemens Association, supporting their very important work.  

In January 1998, a new and very welcome phase of life began for Hugh when he married his wife, Hellen von Harbou Bayliff. Hugh and Hellen spent their life together on the ranch nurturing their land and cattle. Until the week before his passing, they pursued their passion for sustainable ranch production, learning as much as possible about soil health, biodiversity, and management intensive cattle production.

Hugh & Hellen had two children, Mathew, now age 19 and Maria, age 16, who are homeschooled. Hugh was a very devoted father and found his greatest joy in his children. 

In recent years Hugh’s life-long struggle with diabetes mellitus (Type I diabetes) has taken its toll.  He suffered a major stroke in June, 2014 and was hospitalized for a number of months before returning home to the ranch in November of that year.  Despite problems with balance, eyesight and speech as a consequence of this stroke, Hugh continued to try and do the work that he loved at the place that he loved surrounded by the people and animals that he loved. Hugh made great progress in his healing, but the lingering impairments resulting from the stroke were almost certainly a factor in the accident which took his life on December 14th. Despite these impairments, Hugh worked on the ranch until his very last day.

Hugh was a kind, gentle, resourceful, self-reliant, brave, stoic man. Despite life-long illness, he experienced much joy and gave much joy.   

Hugh leaves behind his wife, Hellen, his son Mathew and daughter Maria, as well as his sister Elizabeth, his sister-in-law Marion, and his nephews Bryce and Brent.

He leaves behind many family members in the Chilcotin, as well as cousins in the United Kingdom through the maternal side of his family.  Hugh goes to join his younger brother Jim, his cousin Jane, his parents Tim and Merle and all those who have gone before.

Rest in Peace, Hugh.    

A memorial service will be held for Hugh at the ranch on Saturday, December 30th, 2017 at 11 am. Dress casually and warmly.

In lieu of flowers, we would ask donations be made to the Canadian Diabetes Association, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, or Ronald MacDonald House in Vancouver, in memory of Hugh. 

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