Paul Hayes, age 90, of St. Louis, MO, formerly of Shelbina, MO, passed away on January 20, 2014, at Sunset Assisted Living in Richmond Heights, MO.
Paul was born on November 6, 1923, in Shelbina, MO, the son of Everett and Leona Hopper Hayes. Paul graduated from Shelbina High School in 1941, where he played the French horn in the Shelbina band. His senior year, he served as class secretary. Paul enlisted in the Army in October of 1942, at the age of 19 and served in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He belonged to the 5th Air Force 22nd Bomb Group engaged in combat in the South Pacific Theater. Paul served as a member of the B-24 bomber crew as radio operator and a ball turret gunner (it was located under the plane and he said he had the best view). He was awarded 5 Bronze Stars, a Good Conduct Medal, and an Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters.
Following military service, Paul married his high school sweetheart Betty Green on March 20, 1945. Paul graduated from the College of Mortuary Science in St. Louis, MO, on June 12, 1946, and then joined his father, Everett and his brother Jack in Shelbina in the family business, Hayes Funeral Home, which Elmer Hopper and his father Everett had founded in 1915. After his brother Jack passed away in 1983, he joined with Pete Greening and Ralph Eagan and the firm became known as the Greening-Eagan-Hayes Funeral Home. He worked as a funeral director until his retirement in 1996.
Paul was an active member of the community, serving as a scout leader, earning the Silver Beaver award for his service, and also served as Secretary of the Shelby County School Board. Paul was a Mason and a member of the American Legion for over 60 years.
Paul is survived by his wife Betty, currently residing in St. Louis, his four children, Jim Hayes and partner Vicki of Portland, OR, Dan Hayes and his wife Janet of Clive, IA, Becky Lorenz and her husband Robert of St. Louis, MO and Mark Hayes and his wife Katherine of Alexandria, VA. Paul is also survived by five grandchildren, Timothy Hayes, his wife Marci and their three children, Luke, Colin and Jacob, Ben Hayes and his wife Lindsey of Baltimore, MD, Kathryn Hayes of Chapel Hill, NC, Damien Lorenz of Columbia, MO and Matthew Hayes of Alexandria, VA.
Paul’s greatest joy was his wife of 68 years, spending time with family and drinking coffee with his friends at Hickey’s Drug Store and later at the Chicken Coop. Paul is remember by friends and family as a kind and loving man who enjoyed woodworking and was renowned for his sweet tooth, most notably his love of ice cream.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held on 10:30 am, Thursday, January 23, 2014, at the St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Shelbina, MO, with burial to follow at Shelbina Cemetery. Visitation will be 5-7 pm at the Greening-Eagan-Hayes Funeral Home in Shelbina, MO, on Wednesday, January 22, 2014. Memorials may be made to Neighbors Helping Neighbors or Shelbina Library.