Press clippings:

At 95, Sentinel columnist still standing up for women, liberalism
The Daily Sentinel
(Grand Junction, Colorado)
By MELINDA MAWDSLEY/The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel
Thursday, April 23, 2009

At 95, Sentinel columnist still standing up for women, liberalism Henrietta Hay does not care if you love or hate her liberal-politics opinions.
Anyone who has read Hay’s columns during the past 19 years knows she supports Hillary Clinton, stem cell research and abortion. Her unabashed love of women’s policies dates back to her involvement with the women’s rights movement in the early 1970s.
Today, Hay turns 95.
When Hay began writing weekly columns for The Daily Sentinel in January 1990, she got “loads” of negative response about her political stance.
“I liked all the excitement,” Hay said. She still has those who don’t support her and her now bimonthly column.
“Some people think it’s courageous to write the column,” Hay said. “I don’t.”
Hay’s liberal stance made her an attractive columnist for The Daily Sentinel because her perspective countered other columnists’ conservative opinions, said Denny Herzog, executive editor.
Herzog, who was the newsroom’s managing editor in 1990, knew Hay’s beliefs and her age — 75 — when she began writing the column.
“She has deep-seated views about things,” Herzog said. “My guess is she has always been engaged.”
But Hay has never been a journalist. In fact, Hay graduated from the University of Colorado in 1930 with an economics degree. She never used it.
Instead, she spent 25 years cataloging with Mesa County Libraries until her retirement in 1989. Shortly after her retirement, Herzog asked Hay about writing a weekly column.
Hay had written book reviews for The Daily Sentinel before retiring, but she had no experience writing columns or writing on deadline. It didn’t matter.
“I thought about it for one second,” Hay said. “I all but threw my arms around Denny — except I think we were on the phone. Finally, at the age of 75, I did the one thing I had always wanted to do.”
After 19 years writing, Hay remains passionate about her column.
“And that is what’s important,” Hay said about her love of writing. “And having that damn computer working.”
At 95, Hay is legally blind and deaf. She can no longer drive. She lives in a third-floor apartment at The Commons, an assisted living center.
But she reads her daily newspaper with a lighted magnifying glass and enjoys researching her columns with the help of an oversized computer monitor. She listens to the nightly news with wireless headphones to control the volume.
Getting older may have physically slowed Hay down, but it hasn’t stopped her.
“She doesn’t waste a lot of time looking back,” said longtime friend Terry Pickens. “She stays so engaged in the world.”
Pickens and Hay have been friends since 1971, when they met while working together at the library. Pickens, at 61, is more than 30 years younger than Hay, but age has never gotten in the way of their friendship.
Pickens has proofread Hay’s columns since 1990. For the past several years, and as Hay has gotten older, Pickens has submitted Hay’s column to The Daily Sentinel. The women talk each night after dinner and meet for breakfast every Friday at Village Inn, where they usually split an order of strawberry crepes.
Hay is a part of Pickens’ family. Hay, who has lived in Grand Junction since 1945, is in charge of making gravy every holiday and used to make the best apple and cherry pies, Pickens said.
Hay’s two sons, John Hay, 69, and David Hay, 62, stay in touch with her, but neither lives in Colorado. She has three grandchildren, including a granddaughter who sings opera in London.
Those who know her best aren’t surprised that Hay raised her children to be independent. One son is an attorney, and the other son works with computers.
But Hay’s best advice has nothing to do with raising children or even politics.
“Make younger friends,” Hay said. “All my friends are baby boomers. They have cars and energy.”

Happy Birthday, Henrietta!
The Daily Sentinel
(Grand Junction, Colorado)
Thursday, April 23, 2009

As is apparent from the front page of today’s Daily Sentinel, and from the column below, Henrietta Hay is celebrating a birthday today — her 95th.
We join a great many people in this community in offering birthday wishes to her.
Since she began writing a column for this newspaper 20 years ago, Henrietta has regularly stirred up folks in this predominately conservative community with her unabashedly liberal views. It is a rare month when we don’t receive several letters to the editor chastising Ms. Hay for her views, along with some lauding her.
Through it all, Henrietta has continued to write with humor and passion. The fact that she continues to do so at age 95, despite diminishing eyesight and hearing, is a testimony to her spirit and tenacity.
A few months ago, one of Henrietta’s friends wondered whether she was the oldest active newspaper columnist around. We did some checking, and quickly discovered that is not the case. The oldest honors go to 102-year-old Margaret Caldwell, who writes for the Desert Valley Times in Mesquite, Nev.
But Henrietta is definitely among a select group. And few others her age have been writing as long or as passionately as Henrietta Hay. Doing all she does at age 95 is an impressive accomplishment.
Happy Birthday, Henrietta.

Hay’s day marks many achievements
The Daily Sentinel
(Grand Junction, Colorado)
By Ann Winterholter The Daily Sentinel
April, 2004

After taking off a University of Colorado letter jacket it took her 70 years to get, Henrietta Hay received her 90th-birthday surprises.
First was an acknowledgement from the Colorado Legislature that was requested of state Rep. Gayle Berry and signed by Speaker of the House Lola Spradley.
Second was an autographed photo and a letter from U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
“She’s going to be the first woman president,” said Hay as she was handed the framed items. Then Hay flashed a smile at the more than 400 friends and acquaintances gathered Thursday at Two Rivers Convention Center to honor The Daily Sentinel columnist and celebrate her 90th birthday.
The “Honoring Women” luncheon was sponsored by the Western Colorado Community Foundation and the Women’s Foundation of Colorado.
Reading off a note she had written to women baby-boom age and younger, Hay said, “Remember the thousands and thousands of women on whose shoulders you stand.”
Those women gave up leisure, and sometimes their lives so that today’s women can be the chief executive officers of large corporations and state and national legislators, she said.
“Now you can choose your path, limited only by your ability and desire,” Hay said. “You are Susan B. Anthony’s daughters. Failure is impossible.”
Hay may be passionate and provocative about feminism, censorship and politics, but it’s really her friends, the ones who nag her about walking and drinking more milk, that keep her running.
“My deep, deep thanks to all of you for coming here today,” she said.
While Hay may be an icon in the community, “to me she’s just a friend,” said Terry Pickens, Mesa County Public Library District director.
“For 30 years she’s been coming to my family dinners for Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Pickens said.
Hay always makes the gravy, because Pickens’ isn’t that great. Hay also sewed elf and bunny Easter costumes for Pickens’ children while they were growing up.
“She is a loyal beyond belief to those she cares about,” Pickens said.

“Independence of thought” is one of Hay’s most remarkable qualities, said Verda Patterson, who has known Hay for approximately 40 years.
“She’s not buffaloed. She sees through people,” Patterson said.
Patterson’s husband passed away recently, and Hay was steadfast in her support.
“She was just so good,” Patterson said.
Hay is accepting and listens, “no matter what your circumstance,” Patterson said.

Editorial: Crone for the Ages
The Daily Sentinel
(Grand Junction, Colorado)