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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, September 4, 2002

Fern Hayes, longtime volunteer, dead at 87

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

Fern Hayes was busier in retirement than most people are in their professional lives.

Fern Hayes was a tireless volunteer who didn't let retirement slow her down.

Advertiser library photo • June 1, 1997

In the past 25 years, she helped found the North Shore Outdoor Circle and was a tireless volunteer in many organizations, including Kahuku Hospital and O'ahu Civil Defense. As a senior companion, Hayes helped home-bound elderly people, many of them older than she.

Hayes, a longtime North Shore community leader, died Aug. 24. She was 87.

Patsy Gibson, former president of the North Shore Outdoor Circle, said Hayes was an energetic woman who excelled at whatever she did.

"She was wonderful at photography, she was a great writer and she was a wonderful gardener," Gibson said. "She was a wonderful person to smooth the rough edges.

"Fern didn't ever argue with anybody. She was always the one who was in the middle, making everything nice for everybody."

Hayes was born Dec. 24, 1914, in Vancouver, Wash. She landed her first job at age 17 and didn't stop working until an illness this summer.

While on vacation here in 1967, Hayes fell in love with O'ahu's North Shore and she decided to move from San Francisco. She accepted a managerial position with Malia International and worked for the garment manufacturer until her retirement 11 years later.

But retirement did not slow Hayes down.

She served on the board at Kahuku Hospital and was the president of its auxiliary. She took part in a Neighborhood Watch program that patrolled the high-crime area of Waimea Bay.

In 1997, she was honored as the city's senior volunteer of the year. At about the same time, Hayes became legally blind.

"But she continued to get around and take pictures," Gibson said. "I don't know how she did it, but she just did."

Hayes also continued to maintain the garden at her house, across from Shark's Cove. Visitors would admire the dozens of orchid plants and other flowers on her deck.

Hayes is survived by her sisters, Myra Barthelow, Doris Richardson and Cleo Hutchison.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Sept. 15 at Saints Peter & Paul Mission Church at Waimea Bay. Hayes' ashes will be scattered off Shark's Cove.

Donations may be made to the Alzheimer's Association, Aloha Chapter, or to the North Shore Outdoor Circle.