William Bayfield

William Bayfield III, 85, passed away peacefully Sunday, February 4, 2024 at his home on Skidaway Island, Savannah, Georgia, surrounded by his loving family.

Bill (a.k.a. Billy, Willow, Daddy, GeeDad, Dapper Duffer, the Meanest Man in the Valley) would be the first to say how grateful he was for his incredible life. The only child of Elizabeth Chandler Winstin and William Wyndham Bayfield, he was born and raised in Washington, D.C.. He attended the Landon School, Phillips Andover Academy, Yale University and the Wharton School of Business. Right out of graduate school, Bill began a career with International Business Machines that spanned more than 32 years, introduced him to his wife Ouida and some of his closest friends, and took his family on adventures all over the globe. Bill loved to travel and was proud to say he had visited more than 70 countries and all but one continent. Working in Asia and living in Hong Kong were highlights of his life.

He loved sports of all kinds and spent many years volunteering with youth sports organizations. He was a mentor to hundreds of young people whom he coached or counseled over the years. He was well known in women’s lacrosse as a referee and coach in Virginia, Georgia and South Carolina.  He coached and led Hilton Head High School to two state championships and his trailblazing work with Northern Virginia women’s lacrosse earned his selection to the Potomac Chapter of the Lacrosse Hall of Fame.

Bill played golf from the moment he could hold a club in his hands. He grew up playing with his father at Congressional Country Club and Pine Valley. When he turned 18, he was offered membership at Pine Valley. He has been a member ever since, graciously accepting lifetime membership in 1998 after 50 years. A scratch golfer in his youth, he was lucky to play alongside some of the greats on most of the world’s iconic courses. He attended the USGA Rules School and was always an expert on the rules of the game. In Savannah, he was the Regional Director for USGA Junior Golf, served on The Landings Club Board of Directors, worked on the Legends of Golf for 12 years and officiated tournaments for the USGA and Georgia State Golf Association for many years.

His love for scuba diving came later in life, but he was all in from day one, eventually obtaining his master diver, nitrox and dive instructor certifications. He was a disciplined, expert diver but always looked like a child when he came to the surface, excited to share everything he had seen. He logged hundreds of dives with his daughters, swam with sharks and eagle rays, and dove beyond the recreational diving limit on more than one occasion.

Bill was a member of Zeta Psi fraternity while at Yale and a veteran of the DC Air National Guard, having served during the Berlin Crisis before going to graduate school. He was a train engineer with a massive collection of Märklin trains that provided hours of entertainment and continues to thrill children and grandchildren to this day. He was an amateur magician, calling on poltergeists and pulling coins from ears, and he was an artist who painted military miniatures with unbelievable historical accuracy. He was a friend to all animals but had a special love for Irish setters. A line of red wagging tails was certainly waiting to greet him, along with the countless other pets he cherished over the years. He was an extraordinary father who only improved as a grandfather. Watching him make magic at Christmastime with his collection of Santas was always a delight and he made sure to share his love of classical music, chess, and fine wine.

Island living, surrounded by golf courses and wildlife, was the perfect retirement but after losing his wife of more than 45 years, Bill embarked on a quest to find his high school sweetheart. A hopeless romantic, Bill never tired of saying how lucky he was to have found his Penny. He loved to tell the story about searching for her, reconnecting after 50 years, and convincing her to be his bride. Bill and Penny shared the last decade together. It was a charmed life indeed.

Predeceased by Ouida Bayfield, Bill is survived by his wife Penny Bayfield, daughters Heidi Bayfield and Heather Weidle, son-in-law Russ Weidle, grandsons Michael and Matthew Weidle and granddaughters Brooks and Lily Chekouras.