New York City — Eugene Albert Bay, Jr., a legend in the advertising and publishing industries, died on Saturday, June 18, 2016. He was 83 years old.
Bay was born in New York on June 15, 1933 to Eugene Bay, Sr. and Helene Carlin Bay. He was educated at Phillips Academy Andover and The University of Pennsylvania and served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1957 to 1960.
Bay served as publisher of Field & Stream magazine for two decades. Later, at Gene Bay Associates, he was instrumental in bringing fishing and hunting programming to mainstream media through ESPN Outdoors. In addition, he served as Trustee Emeritus of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc., was a lifetime member and former governor of the New York Athletic Club and a longtime season ticket holder with the NFL’s New York Giants, following the team from its days in the Polo Grounds to MetLife Stadium.
In the 1980s, Bay was honored by President Ronald Reagan for a program Bay ran to help volunteer fire departments. But for many, Bay’s greatest influence and impact was with the people he mentored.
“The people Gene mentored became senior executives of major companies,” said Mike Edison, one of the people Bay mentored and befriended over the course of his long career. “He employed and mentored many of today’s business leaders, and we remained friends with him our whole lives — not because we had to, but because we loved Gene and wanted to.”
Joe Higgins, Vice President of Sales for B.A.S.S., was another person who benefitted from Bay’s friendship and guidance, calling him, “the ultimate salesman who loved sales calls and sales people. He had more connections than anybody I have ever known and access to anywhere he wanted to go. I’m not sure if he ever caught a fish, but Gene landed millions of dollars in advertising and sponsorship and remembered every sale.”
Bay is survived by his wife of 53 years, Deirdre Lesage Bay, three children — Willow Bay (Robert A. Iger), Kacey Bay (Nick Pappas) and Eric M. Bay — and seven grandchildren. Memorial visitation will be held at Frank E. Campbell “The Funeral Chapel,” 81st Street and Madison Avenue, on Thursday, June 23, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. A funeral mass will be held at St. Thomas More Church, 65 East 89th Street, on Friday, June 24, at 10:00 a.m.