Cover photo for Don Hayes's Obituary
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Don Hayes

July 15, 1947 — January 28, 2024

Richland

Don Hayes

Don Hayes, beloved husband, father, Granddad, brother, and coach, passed away on January 28, 2024, in Richland, Michigan. He was born on July 15, 1947, in Morganville Georgia to Charlie and Mary Hayes.

 

Don dedicated 30 years of his life to working at the Kellogg Company in their warehouse division. He was known for his exceptional work ethic and commitment to his job. Don also served as Grain Millers Local #3 Union representative and Steward in the Warehouse for many years. 

 

Prior to his career at Kellogg, Don served in the United States Air Force, alongside his twin brother Jon, they enlisted together in 1965 rather than be drafted. Throughout their military service, they were stationed side by side. During the Vietnam War, Don volunteered to go to Vietnam so that Jon would not have to face the danger alone. Both brothers fought bravely at Bien Hoa air force base during the TET offensive in 1968. Don's dedication to his country earned him the National Defense Service Medal and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.  Don served his fellow veterans by volunteering on the Thursday Honor Guard Squad at the Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta, MI.  

 

Outside of work and his military service, Don had a passion for coaching various sports and playing tennis and golf. He coached floor hockey, soccer, tennis, pickleball, and numerous men's softball teams while his children were growing up. In fact, one of his proudest accomplishments came in 1985 when his team "Besco" won both the Men’s Class C State Championship in Monroe, MI and the 5 State Regional Men’s Class C Division Softball Championship.

 

Don was a huge University of Michigan Wolverines fan his entire life.  He was so excited to be able to see his beloved Wolverines win the National Championship this past season. 

 

Later in life, Don discovered a new love for pickleball. He played men's doubles and mixed doubles competitions for many years and even participated in the National Senior Pickleball games held in Birmingham, AL in 2017.

 

Don was also an avid walker who took daily walks exceeding 5 miles. He used his Fitbit or Apple watch to keep track of his steps, often reaching 10,000 or more each day. Even while battling cancer, Don's determination and love for walking never wavered.

 

Don leaves behind a loving family and cherished friends. He is survived by his wife Lynn, his daughter Kristi (Kim) Bailey of Grand Rapids, his son Josh (Patti) Hayes of Orlando, Florida, his grandchildren Alex Pitt and Rian Hayes, his twin brother Jon (Sandy) Hayes, his brothers JT (Diana) Hayes and Jerry Hayes, his stepchildren Tammy (Joe) Maletta, Donna Yezic, Karen Ford, Albert (Keisha) Vickery Jr., as well as numerous nieces and nephews, step grandchildren & great grandchildren.  Former wives Nancy Hayes of Grand Rapids and DoNita Hayes of Kalamazoo.   

 

Don is preceded in death by his parents, his son Matthew, brothers Charles (Sonny), Carl, Tom, Eddy, sisters Frances, Mary Ruth, JoAnn, Willie Sue, Faye, Sheila and Dorothy. 

 

Don Hayes will be deeply missed by all who knew him. His dedication to his work, love for coaching, and unwavering resilience serve as a testament to the kindhearted person he was. A graveside service will be held on June 13, 2024, at 3:00 P.M at Fort Custer National Cemetery in Agusta Michigan to honor his memory. Donations May be made to Vietnam Veterans, Fort Custer Honor Guard, or Bronson Battle Creek Cancer care. www.henryfuneralhome.org 

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Upcoming Services

Graveside Service

Thursday, June 13, 2024

3:00 - 4:00 pm (Eastern time)

Fort Custer National Cemetery

MI

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