Russell Hayes

Obituary of Russell B. Hayes

Russell B. Hayes of Fort Myers Beach, FL & formerly of DeWitt, NY passed away peacefully at home on April 16, 2021 at the age of 96. Russell was born in 1925 in North Brookfield, MA the son of the late David and Leslie Hayes. He was raised on the Hayes Farm, where they grew flowering plants and vegetables, specializing in rhubarb & winter squash for Table Talk Pies in Worcester, MA. His experience and love of gardening not only was shared with his children, but stayed with him as he maintained his own vegetable garden into his 90s. He was drafted and served in the 4th Armored Division, 3rd Army in Europe in World War II as a 1st Sergeant. His unit played a role following the Battle of the Bulge, securing Bastogne, which ultimately helped turn the tide and led to victory. After discharge, he attended the Boston University School of Management, graduating with honors. He met and married Mary Los of East Brookfield, MA a registered nurse supervisor at Worcester City Hospital. In 1954, they moved to Tonawanda, NY where he was Feed Production Manager of Eastern States Farmers Exchange. While in western NY, he was an active member of the Chicago Board of Trade, President of the Buffalo Corn Exchange, The Buffalo Flour Club and the New England Grain & Feed Council. He was also chairman of the Purchasing Council of America Feed Industries. Meanwhile, on the home front, he and Mary, raised four children (two girls and two boys). He played an active role in travel excursions, camping trips and the annual family garden. He also volunteered with the Boy Scouts and supported various sports activities of the children. In 1974, the family moved to DeWitt, NY following the merger of GLF (Grange League Federation) and Eastern States to become Agway and Russell was appointed Commodities Manager of the Feed Division. In 1986, Fort Myers Beach became the winter getaway where Mary and Russell met wonderful friends/neighbors. They enjoyed neighborhood gatherings, walks on the beach, magnificent sunsets and walks to the dock to sit and watch the boats and birds pass by. Golf with friends and family became a favorite past time during his retirement. Russell continued to play well into his 90s. He was a member of The Church of the Ascension of Fort Myers Beach, FL and Holy Cross Church of DeWitt, NY. He was predeceased by his wife of 66 years in 2016, who he lovingly cared for in her later years. In addition, he was predeceased by his parents; his two brothers, Franklin of North Brookfield, MA and Douglas of Vernon, CT; and his grandson, Colin Hayes. He is survived by sons, Robert of Ellington, NY and Alan (Karen) of Miami, FL; daughters, Patricia (James) Harrison of North Chittenden, VT, and Carol (Victor) Russo of Pompey, NY; grandchildren, Meghan Hayes, Brook Hayes, Ben (Kristina) Harrison, Robin (Dana) Juthe, Tara (Richard) Harvey and Kelly (Joseph) Russo; great – grandchildren, Luke, Graham, Chase, Theo, Spencer, Richard, Grace, Gabriel, Laila, Lily and Emma; and several nieces and nephews. The family would like to thank Right At Home of Bonita, FL and Hope Hospice of Fort Myers, FL for the compassionate, loving care provided by the nurses and aides. The family expresses gratitude for the caring friends and neighbors in both NY and FL. Fairchild & Meech DeWitt Chapel, 3690 Erie Blvd East in DeWitt, NY is in charge of funeral arrangements. A memorial Mass will be held at Holy Cross Church in DeWitt on a future date. Burial will be in St. Mary’s Cemetery. The family requests in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to Church of the Ascension, 6025 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931, or Chapel By The Sea – Parish Nurse program – 100 Chapel St, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931.
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