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Soundings contributor remembered

Mary Jane Kilborn Hayes was a nationally recognized marine photojournalist and storyteller

Mary Jane Kilborn Hayes, a contributor to Soundings for the last two decades, died Jan. 12 in Hanover, Mass.

Mary Jane Hayes turned a love of boating into a vocation as a maritime storyteller.

Hayes was a nationally recognized marine photojournalist as well as a storyteller. Her most recent book, "Serena to Sea Story II," was published in October 2009. She was born in Cuba to American parents and her family moved to Quincy, Mass., when she was a toddler.

"She wasn't a boater when I met her, but she took to it like a natural," says her husband, Warren, who cruised with Hayes since 1969. "She never got seasick in her life. I've been out there in all kinds of weather with her: clear, cloudless days right up to pea-soup fog."

The couple's cruising life began when they moved to Hanover in 1969 from Scituate, Mass. Their vessels through the years ranged from Serena, a Sabre 28; Sea Story, a 32-foot Grand Banks; and their current vessel Sea Story II, a 36-foot Grand Banks. Sea Story and Sea Story II were both moored just off the Satuit Boat Club on Scituate Harbor where the two were members.

In addition to Buzzards Bay, Mass., and much of New England, the couple cruised down the East Coast to Florida twice through the Intracoastal Waterway and up the Hudson River twice. One of Mary Jane's favorite cruises was in 1985 when they made their first trip down the East River through New York City.

"Seeing the Statue of Liberty, the traffic, the helicopters overhead, the whole vitality of the city spread out all around us - she loved that trip," says Warren.

Warren says he met Mary Jane when she was working as a flight attendant. He told her that if they were going to be together, she'd have to learn to love boating.

They were married for 50 years and have a daughter, Julie.

"Being married to a well-known marine photographer and writer gave me a boost," says Warren. "People always commented on how much they enjoyed her photos and stories."

"Mary Jane was a special photojournalist for our publication," says Soundings managing editor Rich Armstrong. "Over the 10 years I worked with her, she was always a joy to speak with - whether it be about the next assignment or the most important things in life - and she always turned out an interesting yarn. She will be missed by many."

This article originally appeared in the New England and Connecticut and New York Home Waters Sections of the April 2010 issue.