Sports Executive and Author


In Memorium: Denice Bay (1954-2007)

The only time Denice Bay visited Rwanda she left the country with an empty suitcase.  She and her husband, Rick, had come to this little central African country to trek to see the mountain gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park.  Before leaving the United States, however, Denice and Rick were encouraged by their friends at the Columbus (Ohio) Zoo (who support both the gorillas and the orphanage) to visit the Imbabazi Children's Orphanage and their founder, Rosamond Carr, in Gisenyi as well.  They did, meeting Madam Carr in the process, and were instantly inspired to become benefactors of the orphanage.

By the time they left Rwanda, Denice had given all her clothes for the trip to the children she met along the way.  The people who were with her will never forget the astonished look on the faces of those children walking along the road, who were unsuspecting beneficiaries of her spontaneous generosity.

With a kind and charitable heart, Mrs. Bay was forever assisting those less fortunate.  She empathized with the needy and always insisted upon visiting the impoverished areas of the many countries the Bays traveled to throughout the world.  Thus, after her tragic and untimely death at the age of 53 in 2007, the Rick and Denice Bay Foundation of San Diego, California, established a memorial fund to help make this building project possible.

Denice grew up in Eugene, Oregon, the daughter of a local fire chief.  She attended junior college in the area and married Rick Bay, the Director of Athletics for the University of Oregon.  The couple moved to Columbus, Ohio, where Rick became the Director of Athletics at The Ohio State University, and Denice led her company (Club Corporation of America in Dallas, Texas) in establishing the Capitol Club, a prestigious private social club in the city center.  As the Bays moved around the country, Denice held similar positions with Club Corp. in New York, Minneapolis, Cleveland and San Diego.  Three times she was a national finalist for her company's highest award for membership services excellence.

Mrs. Bay was a member of Ironwood Country Club at her home in Palm DesertCalifornia, where she started a film group known as “Women of Ironwood Film Society.”  She also served as a ‘block captain’ for her neighborhood’s earthquake preparedness committee.  She and Rick traveled extensively, visiting such remote places as TibetNepalBhutanCambodiaLaosCubaMyanmar and North Korea.  She loved theater and saw over 400 plays the last twenty years of her life, including 27 of the 37 written by Shakespeare.  She was starting to play golf and always impressed everyone with her beautiful natural swing.  She loved working in her yard, and was a physical fitness enthusiast.  She was a vivacious person with a beautiful smile and a wonderful sense of humor – a person who would light up a room with her engaging presence.  She loved animals and looked after several feral cats in her yard wherever the Bays lived.


At her death she was survived by her younger brother, Rodney, of Los AngelesCalifornia, and her older brother, Steven, and her parents, Virgil and Yvonne Nave, of LaPineOregon.  She was predeceased by her beloved half brother, Roger Hornsby, of PaducahKentucky.

Mrs. Bay and her husband, Rick, were extremely close and were married 23 years.  They had no children.  Mrs. Bay was killed in a car accident in Morro BayCalifornia, on August 28, 2007.  In honor of his wife’s memory and her love of Africa, Rick climbed to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, the highest free standing mountain in the world, and, at 20,000 feet, the highest point on the continent to spread her ashes as close to God as he could carry them.

Donations to the Imbabazi for this Denice Culture Chamber are to honor Denice, Rosamond Carr and the wonderful children of the Imbabazi that remain in all of our hearts. Contributions may be sent to the Rick and Denice Bay Foundation, c/o The San Diego Foundation, 2508 Historic Decatur Road, Suite 200, San Diego, CA 92106.

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