Nancy “Hilary” Hays, longtime counselor in Princeton, dies at 84

Nancy “Hilary” Hays, of Princeton, NJ, and Brewster, Mass., passed away peacefully on Oct. 6 in Princeton, surrounded by her family. She was 84.

Hilary, originally from East Liverpool, Ohio, settled in Princeton in 1971 after residing in Cambridge, Mass.  She navigated the challenges of single motherhood, raising four teenagers as she pursued her education, earning both a master’s degree and a doctorate in social work while working full-time. 

Hilary’s commitment to helping others led her to work at the Rutgers Community Mental Health Center and later at the Counseling Center at Princeton University. Her dedication to her field continued even after her retirement from Princeton, as she maintained a private practice until 2022. Along the way, she made many friends who appreciated her love, generosity, and kindness, and knew that a friendship with her was a friendship for life.

In 1983, Hilary brought her vision to life with the design and construction of her dream house in Princeton. Her Master Gardener experience was put to work as she passionately created many beautiful gardens in her yard and people often asked her advice for their gardens. With her gardening skills, she created many beautiful flower arrangements and she was asked to do the flower arrangements for weddings.

She loved the outdoors and was an avid walker as well as a runner. She ran the Marine Corps Marathon and was a member of the Carnegie Lake Crew team.  She also was an enthusiastic practitioner of yoga, sharing sessions with her “mat mates.”

Later in life, Hilary resumed her piano talent from her childhood by taking up piano lessons.  She cherished the time spent with her family and friends at her home on Cape Cod with many celebrations and games on the beach.  She had a deep love for the dogs she had over the years that kept her both active and in good company.

In 1996, Hilary married her longtime friend, Tony Cline, and together, they created a life filled with adventures, entertaining, and world travels until he passed in 2016.

Hilary is survived by her children Robert “Bob” Ogilvie of Princeton, William “Bill” Ogilvie (Alice) of Austin, Texas, Bradley Ogilvie (Qianmo) of Winfield, Ill., and Beth Ogilvie-Freda (Mark) of Princeton; her step-children Lynn Cline (Kyle) of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Hugh Cline (Richard) of Long Beach, Calif.; and her beloved grandchildren, Rebecca Freda and Alex Freda. She is also survived by her sisters, Mary Ann Davidson and Sue Hays, nieces, and her dear family friend, Ellyn Geller.

A memorial service to celebrate Hilary’s life will be held on a date to be announced.

Contributions in her honor may be made to the Princeton Senior Resource Center (101 Poor Farm Road, Princeton, NJ 08540) or SAVE (1010 Route 601 Skillman, NJ 08558).

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