Robert Donovan Hays passed away on May 31, 2020 at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, North Carolina. Robert was born on June 8, 1962 in Elizabeth, New Jersey and is the son of Leslie L.and Mary A. Thomas Hays. The family lived in West Wyoming, PA for several years before eventually settling in Kirkwood, Illinois. Robert attended and graduated from Yorkwood High School with the class of 1980 after which he joined the United States Marine Corps in June of 1980. Robert retired in June of 2003 as a Landing Support Specialist and Support Chief, and was also a combat Aircraft Load and Deployment Planner. Robert received his Associates Degree in business while serving in the Marine Corps, On June 22, 1987 Robert married Katherine Kay Ray in Richlands, North Carolina and she is surviving. After retirement from the Marine Corps, Robert was the owner and operator of Hays Automotive in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Robert was a NASCAR and Chicago Bears Fan. He enjoyed projects with vehicles, current events, barbecuing, and exercising. His greatest joy was helping others and taking great care of his family, friends, and beloved pets.
His medals and personal decorations include: Navy Achievement Medal with on gold star, Good Conduct Medal with three bronze stars, Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal with one bronze star, National Defense Medal with one bronze star, South West Asia Medal with two stars, Armed Forces Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Nato Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal, Government of Kuwait Medal, and the Kuwait Liberation Medal of Saudi.
Ribbons that he earned include, The Joint Meritorious Unit Award with NAVY/AF/MC/CG Frame, Navy Artic Service Medal, Naval Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with four bronze stars, and the Navy Unit Commendation ribbon.
Robert is survived by his wife, Katherine of Jacksonville, North Carolina, his father Leslie L. Hays of Monmouth, Illinois, and his brothers and sisters, Mark (Becky) Hays of New London, Iowa, Steven Hays of Macomb, Illinois, Ann M. (Jerry) Lauber of Winfield, Iowa, Brian L.. (Amy) Hays of Kirkwood, Illinois, Lisa M. (Tony) Miraglia of Peoria, Illinois, and Cathy A. (Tim) Roberts of Colchester, Illinois. Robert has twenty-one nieces and nephews also surviving. He is preceded in his death by his mother, Mary A Hays and two brothers, Michael D. Hays and Curtis L. Hays. A heartfelt thank you goes out to the team at Vidant Medical Center who took such extraordinary care of Robert on our befalf.
" The question isn't how much more you can take, But how much more you can give, Just when you're ready to quit your mind says, harder, You listen, sensing an inner strength that wasn't there before, And suddenly you discover you no longer feel the pain, Now you are one of us. United States Marine Corps ......So proud of you Robert .....Semper Fi "
Upon his return to Monmouth, friends and family may call and pay their respects to Robert at Turnbull Funeral Home on Friday, June 12th, during the day. Private interment with Military Honors will then be on Saturday in the Mosher Cemetery. A memorial fund is being established for Disabled American Veterans or the ASPCA.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Robert D. Hays, please visit our floral store.