William A. Hayden of Old Saybrook, Conn., died Oct. 27. He was 81 and had been a Martha’s Vineyard visitor and resident for decades.

Bill was the president of Spring & Buckley in New Britain for many years, and prior to that served in the U.S. Navy on the USS Princeton during the Vietnam War. He was a graduate of St. Michael’s College in Vermont. The grandson of a naval lieutenant commander, he always said he had saltwater running through his veins. His love of the ocean was fostered by camping on Vineyard beaches in the 1950s and 1960s, where he later owned a vacation home. Throughout his life, the Island held a special place in his heart.

He had a zest for life, and on summer days could be found skinny-dipping or bodysurfing at some ocean spot. A free spirit who never missed a beautiful day outside, he enjoyed flying planes, sailing and driving fast cars and motorcycles. He had a mechanical mind and loved cameras and photography. He was also an avid skier, reader and cyclist. Even in his 80s, Bill could be found cycling by the ocean or tooling around on the back roads of Lyme, Conn., on his motorcycle. In his older years he loved making trips to the Vineyard, where he always made sure to visit his friends at the Outermost Inn in Aquinnah.

Bill had a warm heart and believed in the power of a hug. His friends an family envision him now lifting off the runway in his Stinson, piloting a curve through the clouds toward the Island with his beloved Mary Bushnell Colhoun, his co-pilot in life. Mary predeceased him in July 2012.

He is survived by his two children, Curtiss Van Dorn Hayden and his partner Ashley Parent, and his daughter Kate Hayden and her partner David Ames. He is also survived by his sister Toni Durkee and her three sons; two nieces and three nephews and their families. Donations can be made to land conservation in memory of Bill at sheriffsmeadow.org/support-us/donate-online.