PO Box 26 Purcell OK 73080

Gerald Ray Hayes May 7, 1932 - March 16, 2020

We have all seen the phrase on a bumper sticker, mug, or T-shirt countless times: “Best Dad Ever.” On March 16, 2020 Gerald Ray Hayes, who will always be remembered as our ‘Best Dad Ever’ (apologies to those whose Dad might also have the title), went home to the one that loves him the most. Dad was a “Road to Romans Christian”, a magnetic personality with a “lightness of being” and “generosity of spirit” who made us all believe in the possibilities.

He was born at home on May 7, 1932, to Ernest Dewey Hayes and mother Essie Jane Leach with a large family of 4 boys and 5 girls. He grew on a farm just west of Washington in a 2-room shotgun house with no indoor plumbing or electricity. It was on that farm he learned a strong work ethic from plowing with a mule to getting the chicken “ready” for supper. At the age of 8 he started as a water jack boy during the broomcorn harvest, later working right alongside his father cutting broomcorn. Dad always said there is nothing like a broomcorn itch. In 1941, the family move into town, where Dad attended Purcell Schools. Dad always loved sports. He lettered in football, basketball and track. He was proud to have played with Olympian Lester Lane and be on the 1950 State Basketball Championship Team. He graduated in 1952 and was voted most handsome senior male.  Dad’s strong work ethic earned him the projectionist job at the Canadian Theater.  He there met and courted his high school sweetheart, Margaret Pearl Tefertiller. On August 9,1952 they married and settled in Purcell. Dad then started his lifelong career with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. In December there was an abrupt change. He received a letter from the President, friends and neighbors with regards to his military draft. He commented that he was “so lucky to be chosen” to go to Korea.  He completed his basic training at Camp Carson, Colorado. Dad started his world travels with a 17-day cruise to Pusan, Korea and was stationed at Yeongdeungpro above the 38th parallel. In Korea, he served his country proudly as an artillery surveyor and achieving the rank of Master Sergeant.  He was honorably discharged and returned to Purcell in 1954.  He continued his service in the Army National Guard while also re-starting his career with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. Dad was a strong believer in education.  He continued advancing his education and career.  He was also proud to be a Registered Professional Land Surveyor.  He retired from ODOT as the Assistant Resident Engineer in Purcell.

As a loving husband, father raising 4 boys and 1 girl.  Dad was a Coach, Boy Scout leader, Sunday school teacher and wore many more hats.  After the untimely passing of Margaret, Dad commented on how he was lucky to find love again, with a bonus, in Regina Ford and her two wonderful kids. Dad embraced his new family and often said that the names may not match but the heart certainly does.

After retirement Dad and Regina traveled the world from the Russian Kremlin, kissing the blarney stone in Ireland to riding elephants in Thailand.   They loved every adventure together. Dad also enjoyed taking mission trips to Peru to share the Gospel. He was a faithful member of the 9th Street Church of Christ and loved his weekly visits to the sick or homebound. His servanthood continued as a member of the Purcell Kiwanis and was a lifelong member of the VFW. Dad was a private man that could solve most of his problems brush-hogging on his John Deere tractor. If life ever got too much, he just turned down his hearing aids, smile and just nod.

Dad’s grit, wit, and distinctive charm resonated with everybody.  He touched so many lives. Dad always left you shaking your head with a smile. His loving character, straight-forward wisdom, and classic sense of humor will always be cherished.

Gerald leaves behind a family, whom he loved very much, to include his wife of 43 years Regina; his children, Gary Wayne Hayes and wife Cindy of Purcell, Michael Lee Hayes and wife Danice of Blanchard, Cheryl Lynn Strong of Purcell, Darrell Glen Ford of Goldsby, Jerry Don Hayes of Purcell, Kevin Lynn Hayes and wife Shay of Edmond and Marcy Ann Stokes of Bentonville, AR. Twelve grandchildren Christopher, Amber, Cammie, Levi, Chase, Candace, Turner, Sara Beth, Andrew, Caden, Anna and Allison and Ten great grandchildren Aiden, Brycen, Hendrix, Graeme, Annabelle, Layla, Maddox, Kaydence, Emsley.  His brother Jack Dempsey Hayes and wife Jean of Oklahoma City.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Ernest Dewey Hayes and mother Essie Jane Leach. His wife Margaret Pearl Hayes.  Sisters: Estell, Luciel, Gladys, Earnestean and Carrie.   Brothers: Leslie and Jerry Mack

Our family is sincerely grateful to the many friends, neighbors and caregivers who have provided prayers, support and comfort during the time of loss.

A “Celebration of Life” honoring the memory of Gerald Ray Hayes will be held on 17th day of May.  The celebration will begin at 1:00 pm at The Grand Canadian Theater.


  1. REPLY
    Jerry Don Hayes says

    Superhero’s do die. My Father was my Superhero and larger than life. He taught me that life is about learning, in fact you are never to old to learn. How to take pride in a job then finish that job right the first time. That all words matter and always say Yes Sir and Yes Mam. That independence comes with responsibility and always own your mistakes That kindness is key in adversity-you can attract more fly’s with honey than vinegar. Always give back more to people, church and community. Never Quit but kept your eyes on the finish. Watch your thoughts, for they become words. The Bible has every answer to any question and Jesus is everything you will ever need. His faith and values are still the road maps everyday in my life.
    During my father last days as he prepared for his next step into eternity, he was never scared, frustrated, or angry, in fact he shared thoughts about heaven. As pain increased my father remained a powerful example, he always embodied strength and resilience. His only concerns in his last days was directed at making sure his family was going to be okay after he was inevitably gone.
    My favorite memory of my father will always be about my birthday I was born on July 4th, when I was young my father would wake me up and say “Happy Birthday” in fact, I have a special day planned for you. First we will go downtown for your parade which has clowns and horses. We will come back the house for your cookout, cake, home-aid ice cream and a birthday gift. Finally we will go out to the lake and I have the whole town shooting off fireworks for you. My heart wasn’t broken about Santa Clause but finding out when I got older that the Parade and Fireworks was not for me was a shock. Miss you Dad everyday.

  2. REPLY
    Larry hosek says

    I miss Gerald so much, he was like a 2nd Dad to me and I miss his wonderful advice and wisdom that he would share with me.

  3. REPLY
    Valerye Haley says

    Gerald was my best friend. I could tell him anything, and we talked about everything. He was a true Christian brother, and always gave me encouragement with a problem. He was also Bob’s best friend. They were just alike. I miss him every day, but know that he is at peace with God.

  4. REPLY
    Sara Beth Bogle (Hayes) says

    I could share so many memories and say so much about my papa, he was truly the best! From working for him during my summers to just hanging out and laughing. He was one of the hardest working men I have ever known. I learned so much every time I spent with him. He knew how to make me laugh with his silly cheers, quarters behind my ears, and so many jokes that had you rolling on the floor. Papa use to take us on tractor rides and lots of trips to get ice cream for breakfast at braums. I sure do miss him giving me the best advice, he knew what to say when I struggled with things in life. I love and miss you so much papa. I know your watching of me and I hope I always make you proud.

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