Harry Baya – A Brief Bio - Last Updated October 16, 2023

I currently live in Laguna Woods, California, with my wife, Phyllis Haile. I am retired and often busy, though slowing down a bit. We moved here from Abindon, Virginia in January of 2021. I had been in Abindon since moving there in July of 2004. Before moving, my hobbies included old time fiddle, singing, computer programming, teaching/tutoring, and family and friends. My hobbies now are more limited. I record a weeksly radio show, "Wombats and Music", that is played on WEHC at Emory and Henry college, do some volunteer work in a PC Workshop for seniors, and am finally working on something related to my dream project, Harry's Boppers".

Recent Job history includes ten years (1994-2004) at Hofstra University in the Faculty Computing support department, and nine years (2005-2014) as the instructional technologist at Emory & Henry College. I enjoyed both jobs a lot!

My first two wives, Bonnie Birdsall and Elaine Appleby , left me for other men. I took it kind of hard both times. I am now happily married to Phyllis Haile.

I have two sons. Matt is married and has two sons. He is on the computer staff at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Paul is a cruise director for Celebrity cruise lines and is based in Coconut Grove, a suburb of Miami, Florida. 

I have had a radio show on the Emory & Henry college radio station for the last 12 years and have recordings of the show at http://boppers.net/radio.

You can figure out my email address if you add my first name to @baya.net. I am also on Facebook.

Here is a picture of me, my wife, my sons Paul (on the left) & Matt, Matt's wife, Emily and their two sons, Owen (12), and Marshall(8) taken on Star Island (ten miles out from Portsmouth, NH) in the fall of 2014.


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Some history:

I was born in Tampa, Florida on July 31, 1939. My sister, Madge is two years older than me and still lives in Tampa. My father was from Tampa and my mother was from Abingdon, VA. I moved to Abingdon in 2004 when I retired from Hofstra and lived there till January of 2021 when Phyllis and I moved to California.

My father was a full Colonel in the U.S. Army so we moved a number of times in my childhood. Here is brief summary of the places I have lived.

Tampa & Abingdon until 1945 when my father returned from World War 2

Falls Church, VA and Fairlington, VA while my father worked at the Pentagon

Purley, Surry, England for 2 years for all of 6th and 7th grade. I was the only American in a Catholic school. I was totally assimilated into that culture by the time we left.

Carlisle, Pennsylvania for 8th grade (51-52) while my father was in the Army War College

Monterey, California for the first half of 9th grade while my father attended the Army language school to learn Spanish.

Caracas, Venezuela for the rest of high school. This was an absolutely glorious experience and I was as happy then as I would ever be. 

My family then moved to Atlanta, Georgia from 1957 to 1962. I attended M.I.T. in Cambridge, Massachusetts from 1957 to 1963 and earned a B.S. and M.S. from the School of Industrial Management there (now called “The Sloan School”).

After M.I.T. I served as an officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Germany for two years. I was in Wildflecken, near Fulda, on the East German border for one year and in Karlsruhe, on the Rhine river for the second year. This was during the cold war and we were prepared to defend if the Russians invaded Europe.

I married Bonnie Birdsall in the fall of 1964 and took a job in Columbus, Indiana in the November of 1965. Our first son, Matt, was born in Columbus in January of 1969. I moved to Hastings-on-Hudson, NY, in the spring of 1970 and worked in New York, City for the next ten years. Our second son, Paul, was born in March of 1973. Bonnie divorced me to marry another man in 1978.  

I worked at home as a computer programmer from roughly 1981 to 1994 and then worked at Hofstra University from 1994 till I retired at 65 in 2004. Elaine Appleby and I were married in the fall of 2000. In 2004 we bought a house in Abingdon, Virginia, and lived there together until the spring of 2007 when she divorced me and moved to Little Rock, Arkansas. 

I began work at Emory & Henry college as an instructional technologist in the fall of 2005 and stayed in that job until retiring in June of 2014. 

I met Phyllis Haile around 2010 at the local Unitarian Universalist church and we were married in that church on Dec 2, 2012. Phyllis grew up on a farm about ten miles South of Abingdon and was building a nice home when we met. I lived there with her for 12 years before we moved to California. 

I left out a few things. I do want to add that I very much enjoyed most of my jobs, especially the last two, at Hofstra and Emory & Henry. I took the first divorce, and moving out from my two young sons, very badly. The second divorce was less upsetting, but still an awful experience. I badly wanted to keep both marriages but could not prevent the divorces. These were by far the most upsetting experiences of my life. However, I am happy in my new marriage and, all in all, I believe I have had a full and wonderful life. I am grateful to the universe for the kindness it has shown me and I continue to celebrate most joyously our being here at all.

Also, because I have nowhere else to put this I want to mention that I learned Spanish, German, French and Portuguese over the years. I can still get by in Spanish and could probably pick up German quickly. Though I learned them, I never used French or Portuguese much and have lost most of what knew.

Harry Baya, January 5, 2016

Update - August, 2018

Not a lot has changed. I continue to play the fiddle and banjo, neither very well, and enjoy singing. This fall I will be facilitating a weekly Comunity Singing workshop at the local College for Older adults. I've done some tutoring, but not enough to earn much.

I hope to write a more detailed autobiography some day. It may happen. I will add one addition here:

I was raised in the Catholic church. My father was descended from what is known as the "Minorcan Community" in Saint Augustine, Florida, and all the Bayas through my geneation were Catholics. I am the only one of my generation to leave the church. I lost my faith due to intense discussions with my peers at M.I.T. over several years. Later, around 1967 I joined a Unitarian-Universalist fellowship in Columbus, Indiana. When we moved to Hastings-on-Hudson, I became active in the UU church there. When my wife left me for another member of the church, who left his wife, I dropped out of that church. A few years later I bumped into the Scarsdale Quaker Meeting and found a home. I remained active in that meeting for 23 years.

When I moved to Abingdon, 2014, I found that there was small UU fellowship here and have been active there ever since.

These are all just facts. I have written elsewhere about some of my "beliefs", or lack there of, but I tend to get a bit wordy and boring so I won't do that here. Here is blog of some of my thoughts, including some related to beliefs.


Update May, 2021

In 2020 I completed a first draft of my memoris. I put those memories on a web site. There are probably more than 50 typed pages and I doubt they would be of much interest to most people.

Click here to see my memories.

In January of 2021, in the middle of the Covid virus pandemic, Phyllis and I moved to California. Phyllis sold her house in Bristol, VA, where I have lived since 2012, and we moved to a senior citizen community in Laguna Woods, California.       

Update - October, 2023

Phyllis and I live in a delightful small co-op apartment overlooking a park in Laguna Woods. Phyllis's daughter, Jessica, lives with us, as does her cat, Jack. We get along well and are enjoying life. We have had a few medical issues but, so far, nothing too serious. I am 84 and Phyllis is 80, and we do relativly little outside our home.

 Harry Baya, October 16, 2023