BRUNSWICK - Gary John 'BRO' Haight, 67, passed away in the late evening of Wednesday, June 21, 2023 following a long illness. He passed at the place he loved most, where he found peace, comfort, and sanctuary -- the Haight family's camp on Trout Lake, Town of Bolton, NY.
Born in Troy, Gary was the youngest of three children and the son of the late Warren Haight and the late Muriel A. Schlegel Haight. Gary was preceded in passing very recently by his beloved sister, Nancy J. (Tom) Matthews. He will forever be the deeply loved and cherished husband of Terra Magdalen (Sturn) Haight with whom he made his Brunswick home before marrying in 2018 in the city of Chur, Switzerland.
In addition to his wife, Terra Haight, Gary is survived by his son, Samuel W. (Jaclyn) Haight, Brunswick; his daughter, Hannah Rose Haight, Troy/ Brooklyn; granddaughter, Harper Rose Haight, Brunswick; brother, Russell (Susan) Haight, Texas; brother-in-law, Thomas Matthews, Troy; nephews, Russell (Adrien) Haight, Austin Texas, Adam (Priya) Haight of Saratoga Springs, NY, Nick (Heather) Matthews of Niskayuna; his niece Kelly (David) English of Sacramento, CA; one grandniece and several grandnephews and cousins.
A lifetime resident of Brunswick, he grew up in the Sycaway neighborhood, playing ice hockey with friends and spending summers and much time throughout his life at Trout Lake. Gary attended school at Our Lady of Victory and was a graduate of Catholic Central High School's Class of 1974. He is a 1976 graduate and alumnus of the renowned Paul Smith's College in the heart of the Adirondacks where he earned his degree in Forestry.
During his young adulthood, Gary occupied the lifeguard chair alongside his friend Michael Hogan at the Grafton State Park beach and pool at Saratoga State Park. At Grafton and nearby Forest Lake, he met and kept many of his closest and lifelong friends.
Gary worked for the City of Troy for several years prior to joining the New York Department of State, where he worked for nearly thirty years, helping to build and shape the New York State Coastal Management Program. As a Coastal Resources professional, Gary effectively mediated the demands of coastal development while upholding policies designed to protect and enhance the natural, cultural, and recreational resources of the State's coasts and waterways. He was uniquely talented at his work, admired by his colleagues, and was adept at both designing and negotiating compromises that would advance projects while protecting the environment and public interest.
As a union member and activist, he served proudly and earnestly as PEF's Division 295 shop steward for many years representing and advocating vigorously for public employees in professional, scientific, and technical titles at the Department of State.
He began a family, raising his two children in rural Brunswick in the family home which he took pride in remodeling and building himself. He loved to work at landscaping and gardening as well. During these years, the family vacationed frequently at the Maine Coast with close friends. Gary's love of hockey and his son's interest in the game led him to become a coach for the Troy Youth Hockey Association (TAYHA). He travelled extensively for competitive youth hockey. He and his daughter shared a love for sailing and he encouraged her participation in tennis and supported her in her academic pursuits.
An adventurer, in the 2000's, Gary reinvented himself and became a volunteer crew member, sailing the Tall Ships, Stavros S. Niarchos and the Prince William, with the Tall Ships Youth Trust based in Portsmouth, UK. He made a number of voyages, exploring Europe and the Eastern Caribbean Islands. Once ashore, he ventured further into the jungle and rain forests of St. Lucia and Dominica. Many stories and interesting characters emerged through his excursions.
In 2004, Gary found his way to the North Atlantic, participating in a scientific expedition to the Titanic wreck site off of Nova Scotia. He crewed and participated in the recovery of artifacts and swam in the waters above the wreck. Typical of the Bro, as friends know him, he erected a palm tree with Captain's permission to sun himself and while away the slow times. Returning to Albany, he embarked on a project to partner with investors, local politicians, and the NYS museum in the interest of potentially securing rights to the Titanic to bring artifacts to Troy as the Troy Maritime Museum he envisioned. This ambitious plan nearly came to fruition.
Gary was generous and kind, always willing to help a friend or neighbor. He was a long time member of the congregation at St. John's Episcopal Church in Troy and a dedicated volunteer, assisting the St. John's Food Pantry. His activism in the public interest and love of fishing led him to successfully advocate for the stocking of Trout Lake with rainbow trout, the protection and enhancement of the lake's existing public access, exercising the right to fish over publicly owned navigable waters, and retaining the Town of Bolton's 50 horsepower limit for speedboats on Trout Lake to preserve the lake's character and protect natural resources and boating safety.
Gary discovered a passion for golf and worked on his game through participation in a weekly golf league at Brunswick Greens. A hole in one was achieved at BG and Gary became a top player with the 'Monday Night Duffers'. He enjoyed the camaraderie and teaching and learning from other players. A life list item, in 2012, Gary experienced playing the world class Pebble Beach Golf Course, earning a respectable score.
Retiring in 2016, Gary began engaging with the local Trout Unlimited Chapter and found time to work on his yard, gardens, his 1970 Opel GT, and put his talents to work on improving his ca. 1800 home. Additionally, he took on a major project remodeling an adjacent camp at Trout Lake both as an investment opportunity and to expand the family compound, preserving the tranquility and privacy for years to come.
Gary loved fishing, fly-fishing, sailing, boating, swimming, water skiing, and enjoyed bird-watching, viewing the 'nature channel' on quiet mornings from his perch above the lake, and simply sharing drinks and laughter, a few Charlie's hot dogs, and fireworks among friends.
BRO, you are well loved!!!
Never stop dreaming until your dreams come true! Now, let go & let God. We will miss you!
Relatives and friends may call at the Bryce Funeral Home, Inc. 276 Pawling Avenue, Troy on Wednesday, June 28, 2023 from 4-7 PM with a brief memorial service at 7PM. Remembrances are welcome to be offered by friends.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in memory of Gary J. Haight to the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation, 75 Main Street, Saranac Lake, NY 12983
We recommend using the brycefuneralhome.com website to share or send condolences, light a candle, view videos or for service directions.
Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation
75 Main Street, Saranac Lake NY 12983
St. John's Episcopal Church, Food Pantry
146 1st Street, Troy NY 12180