Henri Emile Desire Bailly, 77 of Digby passed away on November 6, 2017 in Tideview Terrace. Born in France during WWII, Henri immigrated to Canada in 1969 and becoming a Canadian Citizen in 1975.
He was a quiet man who was proud to live off the grid and was known for many accomplishments in his life. Henri had such a love for the land, he could not help himself as he peeked at others property. His broken english did little for him with confronting his neighbours to ask permission to explore their gardens, so much so that he had a homeowner call the police, a friend had intervined on Henri's behalf and he was free to roam again. For this he was dubbed "The Mad Frenchman"
In 1986, an article was writen about Henri in the Sixty-Seven May/June Edition of a Camden House published Harrowsmith Magazine, while working with Argriculture Canada's Kentville, NS Research Station. It was titled THE WILD MAN WITH A BEARD or, how the kiwi came to Canada. This article credited Henri with having brought the kiwi fruit (orginally known as Chinese Gooseberry) to Canada and how he established it's growth pattern in the Canadian climate; making him the Johnny Appleseed of the Kiwi. Due to the high cost of living in British Columbia and Henri being credited with having brought the delectable fruit to Canada, still landless and virtually penniless, he moved to Nova Scotia to become a taxi driver before working with the aforementioned research station. While in Nova Scotia, he was able to convince a friend to allow him to plant three vines in his yard, two males and a female that survived to produce hundreds of fruits every year. This gave a credibility difficult to ignore by both provincial and federal officials who had shown absolutey no interest in Henri or his ideas.
Shortly before the Halifax Summit in 1995, the city was experiencing difficulties with the flowers near the downtown area. The mayor wanted these flowers in tip top shape before the Summit began. By this time, Henri was working with the city of Dartmouth and known to his co-workers as "The Old Dog". He was the only one on staff that could take on the task of sprucing up the Mayor's flowers. He had only one week to correct this and was successful.
Henri had a very giving nature and felt to show this he began studing Sikhism. He was a "disciple" or a "learner" of a religion that originated in the Punjab region. Sikhism is one of the youngest of the major world religions. He even made an appearance on the May 28, 2001 episode of Breakfast Television, titled Man Shaves Head for IWK. On this episode, when asked when he had a haircut or shave, he stated it was in either 1970 or 1971. He had raised $500.00 from his colleges at the Public Works and Greenhouse, his intentions was to donate it to the IWK Telethon on ATV the following week. A direct quote of Henri's from that episode was "very happy to do it for the children." There was a loud cheer from the live audience, as the majority was children.
There will be a large absence in the hearts of those that knew of this wonderful, giving and eccentric man. He will be truly missed.
Memorial donations may be made to the Kentville Research Station or a Charity of One's Choice. Arrangements have been entrusted to Serenity Funeral Home, 34 Coldbrook Village Park Dr. (902-679-2822).