“It began with Duthie saying, ‘Don Baizley is being honored in Winnipeg tonight so let’s talk about all the great inside information you got from him over the years,’” recalled Dryden. “Of course, the three of them just sat there, looking at each, shrugging their shoulders, and said nothing. It was hilarious - and it spoke volumes about Don and they pulled it off beautifully and people really got a kick out of it.”
According to Justice MacInnes, for all of Mr. Baizley’s intellectual strengths, he sometimes had difficulty negotiating the most rudimentary of household tasks. Once, after a golf tournament, Justice MacInnes recalled some friends gathered at Mr. Baizley’s cottage for a barbecue when someone finally wondered: “Don, are we going to get any food here?” and volunteered to light the barbecue. Don said, ‘great, yeah, do that.’ So this guy goes out and comes back and is just killing himself laughing. He says, ‘Don, have you ever even lit your own barbecue before?’ Well, as a matter of fact, no.
“Lesley had pasted sticky notes all over it to show him what to do. ‘Lift lid towards lake.’ ‘Turn dial on right towards Jones’ cottage.’ ‘Turn dial on left towards Smith’s cottage.’ Like that. He really was not very good about things like that.”
Mr. Baizley received his lung cancer diagnosis in early 2012. Mr. Hedberg made five visits to him in his final year and said he learned a thing or two about courage along the way.
“He had never smoked,” said Mr. Hedberg. “He exercised every day. He was always so healthy. I don’t think he ever missed a day of work in his life. Then suddenly, he receives this message, ‘You probably will die.’ I think most of us would say, ‘Why did this happen to me?’ And Don would say, ‘Why not me?’ That’s an incredible thing to say. … It was unbelievable, the discipline he showed.”
Mr. Baizley leaves his wife, Lesley, their two children, Marnie and Gordon, his grandchildren Finella and Obie and his brother Brian. A memorial service will be held Wednesday at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, home of the Jets.