By Thomas Brennan
Copyright 2014 The Daily News, Jacksonville, N.C.
April Bay-McManus is still coming to terms with the death of her husband, a Marine battling cancer, PTSD and TBI who died unexpectedly in what she called “a tragic accident.”
Cory C. Bay, 33, of Richlands, died at his house on Thursday, Jan. 30. The former Marine Corps sergeant, Purple Heart recipient and veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan is believed to have slipped and fallen, hitting his head while playing outside with his two dogs in icy conditions. The cause of death on his death certificate is listed as pending but is expected to be determined by the medical examiner within the coming months.
“He was loyal, trustworthy and always optimistic,” said Bay-McManus during a phone interview on Wednesday following his memorial service at Coastal Carolina State Veterans Cemetary. “He was battling cancer as well as post-traumatic stress disorder and a traumatic brain injury, but he was a daddy. He’s always been a daddy. There’s no words to describe how much he loved his children.”
Survived by his wife and three daughters, Mari, Taryn and Paytun, Bay was medically retired from the Marine Corps on Oct. 30, 2012, where he served as a machinist and later as a machine gunner. A warrior in every sense of the word, she said, he had a gentle heart and tried to overcome his battle wounds as best he could.
Despite his injuries, Bay planned to participate in triathlons and wanted to write a book, according to his wife. He loved fixing classic motors, wanted to teach history at a collegiate level and had the ultimate respect for the Marine Corps, she said.
“When our kids look back and they remember him, I just want them to remember that his arms were always open for them,” Bay-McManus said. “I want people to know anything and everything about him but most of all, that, we will miss him and honor him every day. He will be missed immensely.”
As the oldest of the three daughters, 16-year-old Mari will remember her father as a role model who always loved her, she said. One of her fondest memories of her dad is of the two of them golfing at driving ranges, where the two would just “mess around and joke” the entire time, she said. As her biggest supporter, Bay always supported her, she said, and never gave up on helping her achieve her goals in life.