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It is with great sorrow and gratitude that the family of Sheila Bay-Harvey announces her passing on February 28, 2023.
Sheila’s life was full of adventures and experiences that many of us enjoyed through her colorful storytelling. Born 1946 in Philadelphia, PA with two older siblings and raised in Wilmington, DE, where Sheila’s ambitions and creativity sprang to life.
She married early and had her only son, Benjamin (Beaux) Kisielewski when she was 17. Idealistic and young, they explored the world together with stops in NYC, Los Angeles and Spain. She was drawn to art and community. She first learned of anthroposophy in Ibiza, while working with a friend's daughter with disabilities. She followed her to a Camphill in Holland in the late 1960s. There she met her second husband, Donat Bay, while in training for curative education at Christophorus. Sheila loved languages, picking bits and phrases of them up as she traveled, becoming humorously proficient in many, including Dutch and German.
Sheila and Donat married in 1976, with Beaux by their side. They had four daughters together. Lucia and Sarah were born in Holland and, after moving to Triform, NY, Kristin and Galina were born. In 1988 they founded Lyris Inc., a community based on lifesharing and social therapy that later became Plowshare Farm in Greenfield, NH. Memories of this time are anchored by a full, busy and welcoming environment. It is here she embraced her nickname "Mombay" as she connected with and cared for people who most needed some nurturing. Sheila left Plowshare Farm in 2000 to pursue painting with the New England School of Classical Painting where she became an incredibly talented portrait painter. Her favorite subjects were always her loved ones. She gravitated to the new. She became an early Airbnb host in her Temple House, once again opening her warm home to people from all over.
She loved to travel and explore, invent and create, and through these pursuits she lived a life that touched and connected many. Sheila had a way of welcoming people and winning them over with her enthusiasm, through painting classes and later art therapy, by hosting large gatherings and having the most inviting gardens. Sheila always had an extra room or an extra meal, always knowing how to make someone feel at home and then often putting them to work. She had a sense of when people were stopping by, and was remarkably sensitive and accepting of people and creatures who were in a tough spot.
As Alzheimer’s found its way to her, she always had nature right at her window. She spoke to the birds and all kinds of cats. Chickens and chipmunks gathered around her. The garden slowly turned to perennials as her family swept in. Stones, geodes, shells and sand from her travels covered her bookshelves. Sheila loved music and movies, one or another were always on when you walked into her open embrace. She was wildly proud and supportive of her five children, and her joy for her family only grew as her grandchildren were born.
She is survived by her daughters, Lucia Bay and her husband Will Schmenner, Sarah Bay and her husband Sam Blair, Kristin Bay and her wife Kiki Post, Galina Bay Schwab and her husband David Schwab; her brother James Harvey; her grandchildren Celina Kisielewski, Justin Pagan, Rex Schwab, Josephine Bay, Dylan Blair, Max Schwab, Willie Mae Bay, and Nora Blair. She is predeceased by her son Beaux Kisielewski and her sister Karen Harvey.
In lieu of flowers, Sheila would love a donation to your local pet shelter (http://www.rescueleague.org), a local homeless shelter (https://nhchc.org/) or the Alzheimer’s foundation.
To plant a tree in memory of Sheila Bay Harvey, visit the Tribute Store.
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