Daniel Robert Hays, 62, of West Linn, died May 17, 2009, due to pulmonary complications.
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Funeral services will be held at Saint Catherine’s Catholic Church in Enterprise on May 30 at 1 p.m. A final memorial and celebration of Dan’s life will be held afterward for family and friends.
Dan was born Sept., 21 1946, and was raised in Enterprise. His parents Vernon and Mary Hays homesteaded in Joseph in the 1940s. Dan was one of five siblings. He worked on his family cattle ranch and earned money for college by playing his trumpet in a dance band, “The Yellow Jackets.”
Dan was a member of the OSU marching band and performed in the 1964 Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. He was also in the Baker City Elks Lodge Drum and Bugle Corps. Dan had a passion for music that sustained him his entire life and most recently played in a Portland R&B band.
Sports were also a central part of Dan’s life. In high school he was a wrestler, football player and avid golfer. He made it to the state championships in wrestling and graduated in 1968 from Oregon State University with a bachelor’s in parks and recreation.
He was a walk-on for the OSU football team. Although sidelined early after being diagnosed with diabetes, he was determined that it would never slow him down. He was a dedicated Beavers fan for more than 40 years and rarely missed a football game (or basketball or baseball game).
He tracked the careers of his favorite players and coaches. Dan greatly admired those who showed grit and performed heroically. He lent loud support for his teams and served on the board of the OSU Beaver Athletic Student Fund.
Nobody took the OSU-Oregon Civil War more seriously than Dan Hays. Dan was such an avid Beaver fan that when he heard that his good friend’s daughter had been accepted to school at Eugene, he offered to pay her college tuition if she would decline and attend classes in Corvallis.
Dan will be remembered for his outgoing, exuberant and humorous personality. He cared deeply for his beloved wife and family and countless others. Dan knew no strangers and had an amazing ability to connect with others. He had dear and close relationships with many and possessed a remarkable ability to remember the small details of people’s lives.
Dan loathed e-mail. He could not fathom why a person would try to communicate through a computer to someone sitting in a room only 10 feet away.
Dan worked for a short time as a parole counselor in Chicago for juvenile offenders, managed the Moore’s Alley restaurant in Ontario with his brother John, and was a manager for the Crane Creek Country club in Boise before discovering his passion in sales.
Dan’s exceptional outgoing personality made him successful in the automobile industry. He spent more than 35 years in his profession, starting out in car sales with Nissan Motors and advancing to technical training and NW regional management with Subaru of America.
Dan traveled extensively and was a gifted public speaker. He used his amicable demeanor to win over crowds and generate enthusiasm. He was a believer in the power of a positive attitude and had a great work ethic. On occasions where opinions clashed, he acted as diplomat and inspired people to find a middle ground (with the exception of a few incidents in Eugene with some Oregon Ducks).
Like his father, Vernon “Beanie” Hays, who is remembered as emcee for the Chief Joseph Days Parade, Dan had an animated presence that commanded attention. He loved to impersonate the people he found interesting. Dan loved practical jokes, telling ghost stories, hunting, fishing, riding his Harley, and creating unforgettable memories.
“Papa D” was a loyal family man, believed in his faith and country, and was very proud of his children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.
Although he was unable to speak during his final days, he fought hard to hang on and labored to write out his final wishes to his family: “Be a champion, take care of people, and set an example.”
Dan is survived by his wife Linda; brothers Michael, John, and David; children Jade (wife Cabrini), Jill (husband John) and Bryan (wife Erin); and grandchildren, Jamie, Cayden, and Zachary.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, May 22, 2009
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor