William Alexander Hailey
26th January 1946 - 25th September 2018
A great friend to me and all who knew him
A highly accomplished teacher of Tai Chi and Qi Gong
Always a smile and a funny story
Sadly missed by all
“Even while they teach, men learn” – Seneca the Younger
His patience was quite endless and his humour very wry
He always had a naughty little twinkle in his eye
But his passion as a teacher, well that never was in doubt
He had enormous knowledge that he wanted to share out
And that will be his legacy - a group of people just like me
Who’ll be forever grateful that he taught us all Tai Chi
You’ll be missed but remembered with fondness
There is a time to live
There is a time to die
Shifu Bill has shown us how to do both
With honour and courage
It is enough.
“There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance” – Socrates
Bill combined the potential menace of a bruiser, with a Nureyev like grace when demonstrating the disciplines he taught us.
It was calming to hear his take on various Eastern philosophies.
His endless tales of his experiences were always engrossing.
His smiling greeting always a delight.
Dave and Mary
We so enjoyed his quiet gentlemanly manner, his expertise and stories about Qi Gong and his stories and background to the exercise.
He also made us laugh about his lovely grandchildren and their activities and the fun names he gave them, but in a loving way.
We still can’t believe he has gone.
It was good to see our old acquaintances from our classes and especially Sheila. Quite surprising how fond we got of the group and it is missed so much by us.
Lin and Tom
My main memory of Bill is of his wonderful air of calm that came from his
experience of Daoism; his acceptance of everything that came his way with
the same wry humour and his wonderfully elegant way of moving: he looked
like a boxer but moved like a ballet dancer!
I will miss him and am so pleased that you will put a tribute to him on the
web site - that would make his bald head go pink!
“If you are depressed you are living in the past, if you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” - Lao Tzu
Bill was the best kind of human, and genuinely one of my favourite people. He was a wonderful teacher, with a depth of knowledge and calm energy that I always admired. I knew he would be laughing at me, rushing about, with all my yang energy, but I knew he understood it too. Having been a London grocer and a boxer, he would recount stories, captivating everyone around him, and always with a twinkle in his eye.
On the day of his funeral I got a tattoo, which has resonance for me in so many ways, but was appropriate because it connects to Tai Chi, Chi Kung and the lessons my dad and Bill have taught me. It is about energy, interconnection, nature and balance. I may never fully understand, but will always keep learning, and forever be inspired by Bill.
It feels like the best quote here is one from the man himself. RIP Bill, you will be missed.
"Follow your hearts will,
act always as your spirit leads,
forgiving and kind;
and always just,
listen now and look inside, the truth is there." - William A Hailey
When I first came to Falling leaf Tai Chi it was a journey I thought I would never get to grasps with. I eventually started to see what the essence of Tai chi was about. Bill started to mould me to his way of Tai chi, it took a while, but he eventually saw how I was improving. Bill would always put others at ease, especially when teaching Qi Gong. He will be in our thoughts and our hearts and will surely be missed. Bill was a legend.
Terribly saddened that I am not able to learn Tai chi with Bill again. He was great company, good at storytelling. I will greatly miss his Tai Chi and Qigong lessons, Bill was a great 'sifu'.
A few words about Bill:
His inspirational way of teaching was so helpful in guiding us towards relaxation and calmness through his example. He always brought warmth, a sense of humour and fun into his classes. He will be greatly missed.
I was thinking about him this morning as I was practising Qi Gong - I, and many others, will always be grateful for his teaching.
Although a newcomer to Tai Chi, I was lucky to spend several months in Bill’s Beginners Class at the Staines Community Centre. Bill was very welcoming and patient and was a great teacher, with an easy way of explaining the origin and meaning of the moves. He kept us entertained with stories of his early life in the East End, his father’s boxing school, and his enthusiasm for the Argentine Tango. Bill’s lessons had the feel good factor. He is remembered with affection for his calm manner and for his infectious good humour which never failed to lift the spirits.