William “Billy” Emory Hayes
Wrens, GA – Despite having traveled the world and extensively in the United States, Billy Hayes always considered Wrens home. A gentle soul, Billy lived with a twinkle in his eye and a generous smile that welcomed everyone it fell on into his comfortable fellowship. After passing away on Monday, January 22, 2018 at Jefferson Hospital in Louisville, he will be laid to rest in Wrens Memorial Cemetery.
Funeral services for Billy Hayes will be Saturday, January 27, 2018, at 11:00 A.M. at James Funeral Home Chapel with visitation before the service at 10:00 A.M. with the Rev. Carl Geisik and Rev. Chad Watkins officiating.
Pallbearers will be great nephews Kamden Howard, Marcus Howard, Matthew Howard, Parish Howard, William Schmidt, Nate Williford and Jamie Williford. Serving as honorary pallbearers will be Gibson Masonic Lodge 257.
Born April 15, 1930, in Atlanta, to Myrtle and Ross Hayes, Billy moved to Wrens with his family when he was 7 years old.
He worked for Norton Lumber Company from age 13 until he entered the Air Force in 1948, two years after graduating from Wrens High School.
During his 26-year military service career, he was stationed all over the world as an aircraft instrument mechanic, beginning with prop-planes and eventually working on jets. He retired from the Air Force as a Master Sargent on December 1, 1974 and entered the civil service continuing his occupation at Mayport Naval Base’s Naval Rework Facility in Jacksonville, FL. After 30 years of civil service, he retired to care for his wife Martha who lived with Alzheimer’s disease until her death.
An avid golfer, his goal was to play the game in every state of the United States. He achieved this with the exceptions of Alaska and Hawaii. He played in several Canadian provinces and visited Alaska several times.
Billy was an avid deep-water fisherman and boater, often generously entertaining family and friends out on the water.
Early in life he found a deep camaraderie and opportunities to serve through membership in the Masonic brotherhood. He was raised Ocober. 8, 1957 at Stonewall Lodge 98 in Louisville and was a 60-year masonic member. He was a Shriner at the Morocco Temple Shrine and was a member last at the Wesconnette Lodge.
He was also a founding member of the Cyclops GoKart Unit and Ambassador At Large to the Morocco Temple Shriners of Jacksonville, FL where he was a member for over 40 years.
After his second retirement, Billy sold his home in Jacksonville and purchased a 40-foot RV that catered to his love of travel.
An accomplished fine instrument aviation mechanic who once worked on President Eisenhower’s plane and a 32nd Degree Mason, Billy was anything but a simple man, but he always enjoyed simple pleasures. He most enjoyed great food, close friends, extended family and a well-told joke. Billy loved children and took great pleasure just watching them play.
When his own health began to fail, he returned home to Wrens and the home of his sister, Betty Parish, just before Thanksgiving of 2015. Upon her passing, he was welcomed into the home of his niece, Jerry Parish Howard.
Billy was preceded by his parents, Ross Hayes and Myrtle Skinner Hayes; wife, Martha Seaward Hayes; siblings, Francis Hayes, Betty Hayes Parish, Loren “Gabby” Hayes, Dorothy Lane Hayes, Tommy “Red” Hayes; children, Linda Seaward Studstill and David Seaward.
Survivors include his sister, Evelyn Hayes McGahee; children, Mike Tathum (Betty), David Tathum (Elaine), Marilyn Tathum Adams (Bill), Tommy Seaward (Kay), and Don Seaward (Cheryl); and a host of loving nieces, nephews and other family.
The Wild Blue Yonder
Climbing HIGH, into the sun
Here they come zooming to meet our thunder,
At ‘em boys, give ‘em the gun!
Down we dive, spouting our flame from under,
Off with one Hell-uv-a roar!
We’ll live in fame, or go down in flame,
Nothing can stop the U.S. Air Force!
Minds of men fashioned a crate of thunder,
Set it HIGH into the blue;
Hands of men blasted the world asunder,
How they lived God only knew.
Souls of men dreaming of skies to conquer
Gave us wing ever to soar!
With scouts before and bombers galore,
Nothing can stop the U.S. Air Force!
There’s a toast to the host
Of those who love the vastness of the sky,
To a friend we send the message of his brother, men who fly.
We drink to those who gave their all of old,
Then down we roar to score the rainbow’s pot of gold.
A toast to the host of men we boast, The U.S. Air Force.
Off we go into the wild sky yonder,
Keep the wings level and true,
If you lived to be a gray-haired wonder,
Keep the nose out of the blue!
Flying men, guarding our nations borders,
We’ll be there, followed by more. In echelon we carry one!
Nothing’ll stop the U.S. Air Force!