La Grande, Oregon
Former Councilor Bill Hays Dies
- Mardi Ford
- The Observer
Former La Grande city councilor William T. “Bill” Hays, 75, died Thursday at a local care center. A celebration of life is planned for 2 p.m. Wednesday at Loveland Funeral Chapel.
Hays moved to La Grande in the early 1970s with his wife, Jacquie, and daughter, Ida. His involvement in the community began right away. For a time, he worked as a plan checker in the city building department.
Eventually, Hays started his own construction business. An early accomplishment was the design and construction for a community senior center. The building still stands at the corner of Adams Avenue and Third Street.
Hays’ desire to serve the residents of La Grande was evidenced in his tireless commitment as a volunteer and his patient pursuit of public office. After running unsuccessfully for the La Grande City Council, the Union County Board of Commissioners and the state senate, Hays was rewarded with a successful bid for city council in November 2002.
He handily beat out Dan Stark, who came in second, and third-place Tim Hoffnagle for the two-year remainder of what was a vacated four-year seat.
John Bozarth served with Hays during those two years and expressed his condolences upon hearing of Hays’ death.
“One thing that was obvious about Bill was how much he loved this community. He was always involved. And his heart was always in the right place,” said Bozarth.
Mary Ann Miesner was elected to the council in 2002 at the same time Hays was, and also expressed fond memories of his attitude of selfless service.
“I’m so sorry to hear of Bill’s death. He was a great advocate for our community. Public service was an very integral part of him, and he put a lot of time and energy into it,” Miesner said.
During his time on the council, one project Hays supported enthusiastically was the construction of a new public library.
When the new Cook Memorial Library held its grand opening in September 2006, Hays was one of the first to cross through its doors.
“He was always a great supporter of the library,” said Director Jo Cowling. “In fact, when I heard about his death, one of the first things that came to mind was how instrumental he was in making this place handicap accessible.”
When the automatic doors were installed at the west entrance of the library, Hays helped trouble shoot the timing to ensure the doors did not close too quickly.
La Grande Observer – Obituaries for the week ending January 26, 2008 – January 26, 2008