Cliff Hails – RIP

Cliff Hails, the beloved husband of Margaret for 67 years, passed away peacefully on January 21, 2018. He is survived by his wife Margaret, his son John Hails (wife Susan Priel) and daughter Janet Hails (husband Mike May). He is also survived by his younger sister Lydia Wilson of Oakham, UK., his cousin Dave and Cis Willis in California and various nieces and nephews. Cliff was predeceased by his father, John and mother, Lydia and his mischievous older brother, Hedley. Cliff, a Musician, was born in 1929 in Willington, Durham, UK. His love of music began at 5 years old when he requested a mouth organ for Christmas. Before joining the R.H.R. Black Watch at 18, he played the bugle in the Boys Brigade and the accordion in a Hawaiian group in the factory where he worked. He played flute and piccolo for six years while serving the Black Watch. Cliff was stationed in Berlin and travelled around the world with the band and came back from South Africa to marry Margaret on July 1, 1950, whom he met when he was 17. Margaret encouraged Cliff's love of music by cancelling their honeymoon to allow him to buy a tenor saxophone. In 1952, he became a flautist with the Birmingham and Coventry theatre orchestras. He played for the Cunard Steamship Liners on the "Saxonia" travelling between Liverpool and New York. At age 26, with Margaret pregnant with their son John, Cliff decided to immigrate to Canada for the betterment of his family. He joined the RCAF band in Edmonton then later to the Canadian Army band, which began his family's cross country adventure from Halifax, followed by teaching at the School of Music in Victoria. In 1966 Cliff was surprised by the arrival of his daughter Janet; his pride a joy. He decided to settle in Calgary where he became an integral part of the music scene. Cliff worked for the Calgary Board of Education repairing musical instruments and sharing his love of music with the children. During his six decades in Canada, Cliff played freelance with Calgary Symphony, Calgary Stampede, Neil Gow and the Five Nights, and finally with the Cappy Smart Fire Band. He never lost his love for playing music, which he shared equally with his love of his family, cars and travel. Many memorable cross country car holidays are fondly remembered by Margaret, John and Janet. We invite you to an informal Celebration of Life on Sunday, February 11, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. at the Southern Pioneers Memorial Building (3625 4 St SW, Calgary, Alberta). In lieu of flowers, donations in Cliff's name are gratefully accepted by the National Music Centre's youth educational programs at: To view and share photos, condolences and stories of Cliff please visit

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