Monday, March 12, 2012

Lodge of Sorrow: John "Frank" Hays

John "Frank" Hays

VILLA GROVE – John F. "Frank" Hays, 100, of Villa Grove, formerly of Ogden and rural Fithian, passed away at 8:35 p.m. Friday (March 9, 2012) at his home.

Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Thursday, March 15, at Kirby Funeral Home, 708 S. Main St., Homer. The Rev. Nicholas Showalter will officiate. Burial will be in the Stearns cemetery in Fithian. There will be a visitation from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the funeral home with a Masonic Rites Service at 7 p.m.

Mr. Hays was born on June 26, 1911, in rural Ogden. He was the eleventh child of Willard and Margaret Wright Hays.

He married Mildred J. Baker on Feb. 15, 1936, at Danville. She passed away on Feb. 1, 2003. He was also preceded in death by five sisters, Myrtle Hackler, Jessica Gooch, Jennie Hart and Maude and Mabel (twin infant sisters); and five brothers, David, Vincent, Thomas, Glen and Fred Hays.

Mr. Hays is survived by one daughter, Margaret (Lance) Herrmann of Villa Grove; two granddaughters, Denise (Jason) Zander of Tolono and Bekki (Joel) Canine of Lafayette, Ind. There are six great-grandchildren, Daniel Zander, Haley Zander, Jillian Zander, Sophie Canine, Logan Grimm and Gabrielle Canine.  He was also very close with his many nieces, nephews and cousins.

He was a lifetime member of the Masonic Lodge, joining in 1943, and he joined the Valley of Danville Consistory in 1946. He was also a member of the Ansar Shriners of Springfield and the Eastern Illinois Shrine Club.

Mr. Hays joined the Vermilion County Farm Bureau in 1934. He served on the Muncie Consolidated Grade School Board for 12 years and during his presidency of the board the new Muncie Consolidated Grade School Building was completed. He later served on the Oakwood Township High School Board for nine years.

During World War II, Mr. Hays had a "farm release," permitting him to work at the General Motors Central Foundry in Danville and later he fired on the Peoria and Eastern Railroad. He retired from grain and livestock farming in the Muncie-Fithian area in 1976 after moving to Ogden in November 1975.

While living on the farm he and Mildred experienced two tornadoes and while living in Ogden their home was struck by the tornadoes of 1976 and 1996. When asked by local media,"Do you think someone is looking out for you?" Frank replied,"I think somebody's trying to get us."

He served on the Ogden Village board for four years. After the town of Ogden purchased the former high school grounds, he assisted in making the grounds into a park. He was also on the streets and alleys committee and the water committee. He was a member of the Ogden Lions club for several years. While living in Ogden he enjoyed drinking coffee with his many friends and being part of the Tuesday morning pocket knife-swapping group. After moving to Villa Grove in 2001 Mr. Hays maintained an interest in family, current events, politics and sports. He enjoyed gardening and playing cards, and cheering for the Chicago Cubs and for the University of Illinois football and basketball teams. This year he especially enjoyed the UI volleyball team's successful season. He was an avid fan of WDWS Penny for your thoughts and various political programs. Memorial contributions may be made to the Ogden Rose Public Library in memory of Frank and Mildred Hays.

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