Bud Haylor: A Legacy of Service

Burnett (Bud) Haylor’s 92 years in Syracuse contributed to a life well lived. The successful businessman, caring husband and father and consistent advocate and supporter of local causes never hesitated to lend a helping hand, along with his knowledge and wit, while forever remaining humble. Now, thanks to a gift left through his will, Bud’s generosity will be living on through continued support to local charities for many years to come.

Bud began living generously at an early age and he credited his parents’ influence for his giving.

“I was brought up to learn that we were fortunate and should therefore share with others when we can,” he said in a 2017 interview.

Nancy, Bud’s wife of 65 years, says that this theme carried on throughout Bud’s life: “He always felt that the reason he did well in business was because of the people in our community who helped him. He felt a calling to repay the community for what he was able to receive.”

After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II and graduating from Cornell University in 1948, Bud began working for his father’s insurance company, which would eventually be known as Haylor, Freyer & Coon. He slowly worked his way up from the role of desk clerk to co-owner and president of the company before retiring after 42 years. His hard work led to significant growth in the business, which is now 200 employees strong and extends across six offices. But even after working long hours each day at the office, he often went out again many nights of the week to volunteer his services on multiple charitable boards and committees.

Bud spared his time for many organizations. Among them were Campfire Girls, Jr., the Chamber of Commerce, Citizens Foundation, Everson Museum of Art Trip Committee, Oakwood Cemetery and SCORE Association. He also served as chairman of the Red Cross County Disaster Response Committee for 25 years. One of Bud’s favorite causes was the YMCA of Greater Syracuse, where his father began taking him when he was seven years old. His wife even still jokes that “the Y came before Nancy.”

The Haylors are long-time friends of the Central New York Community Foundation, as well. Bud and Nancy opened a donor-advised fund in 1981 to help make their giving more convenient. Bud once told us he enjoyed the flexibility of being able to give to his favorite charities year after year, regardless of how the business was doing at any given time. When the couple’s daughter, Tracy, a fiber artist and teacher, died tragically at age 49, they sought out the Community Foundation to help honor her memory. To follow in line with her passions, the Tracy L. Haylor Memorial Fund was established to honor artistic excellence and high levels of craftsmanship among young artists, especially students participating in the Central New York Scholastic Arts competition.

Bud was also a valued member of our board of directors in the 1980s, where his spirit of generosity shined. He once remarked that the hardest part of that role was seeing how much was needed in our community and wishing more could be done.

During the rare times when Bud wasn’t working for one cause or the other , he was leading the role of family man – as a dedicated husband and father of four – who enjoyed tending to his garden and traveling. Nancy fondly recalls trips to Europe, Egypt and even a memory-filled spontaneous hop over to Cuba from Florida in the 1960s. He also taught bible study for 31 years at St. Paul’s Methodist Church. Nancy describes him as always kind and considerate and a man who accomplished remarkable things without ever wanting anything in return.

“I’d like him to be remembered as a loving, caring person who cared about other people,” she said. “He never asked for any thanks for anything that he did.”

When Bud passed away, he left a $175,000 gift to the Haylor Family Charitable Fund at the Community Foundation to carry on his charitable legacy into the future. Over time, Bud and Nancy’s favorite charities will receive continued support and any remaining dollars will enhance the Community Foundation’s grantmaking and initiatives.

In one of his last communications with the Community Foundation before his passing, Bud expressed that he was a big fan of our efforts to encourage philanthropy in Central New York. Through an ongoing campaign called 5forCNY, we call on residents to consider leaving a portion of their estates to their local endowment to ensure the continued support of local charities, just as Bud did.

Syracuse lost a great man on February 28, 2018 when Bud Haylor left this world, and we at the Community Foundation will miss his occasional notes that encouraged us with statements like: “You are doing great things for the community.”

We are honored to carry on his legacy of generosity, and we hope it inspires future generations to do their part for the causes that matter to them. We think Bud will be smiling down on them as they do.

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