Kenneth Eugene “Gene” Hays was born on August 14, 1930 in Knoxville, Iowa. He was the son of Helen Beatrice Hays and Lee Rowland. At a young age Gene’s grandparents, Nora (Brees) and Leroy Hays raised him. He attended school in Knoxville and graduated from Knoxville High School in 1947.

Gene met and married Edith Helena Patch on December 19, 1948. To this union one daughter was born. In October 1952 Gene entered the US Army. He served with the 70th Engineering Company.

In October 1960 Gene worked as a linotype operator for the Knoxville Express. He also worked for the Oskaloosa Daily Harold, the Newton Daily News and Commercial Printing, a subsidiary of the Des Moines Register for over 30 years. He retired in 1992.

Gene was a member of the typographical and pressmen’s unions. He was also a member of the First United Methodist Church in Knoxville. Gene was a 50 year plus member of the I.O.O.F. Lodge # 90 in Knoxville and the Indianola Rebeka Lodge # 111. Gene received the “Meritorious Service Jewell” in 2005.

Gene spent many hours collecting stamps. He also did cross-word puzzles. Gene enjoyed nature. When able he hunted deer and mushrooms. Even when he wasn’t able to hunt them, Edith and Gene would drive to the country in the evenings just to watch the deer. They also fed and watched birds in their yard. Gene especially like the cardinals and blue jays that stopped for a meal.

Family was a high priority to Gene. He and Edith had visited all 50 states. Debbie accompanied them most of the time as a child, Seldom did the couple go anyplace without her.

Kenneth Eugene Hays passed away on Wednesday, May 16, 2007 at the Knoxville Area Community Hospital at the age of 76 years, 9 months and 2 days.

Preceding him in death were his parents and grandparents.
Those left to mourn his passing are his wife of 58 years, Edith Hays of Knoxville; one daughter, Deborah Hays of Chicago, IL; two half-sisters and one half-brother.

I.O.O.F. services were held on Friday, May 18, 2007 at Williams Funeral Home with Lodge # 90 officiating.

Funeral services were held on Saturday, May 19, 2007 at Williams Funeral Home with Pastor Neil Montz officiating. Interment was in Graceland Cemetery. Musical selections were “Hymn of Promise”, “How Great Thou Art” and “In the Garden.” Organist was Geoffrey Shultz.

Casket bearers were Phil Bailey, Dan Bainter, Wilbur Bingaman, Jim Jones, Tom Kamp, Brian Patch, Dale Patch and Gail Rowland.

Memorials in memory of Mr. Hays may be made to the American Heart Association, Knoxville Senior Citizen Center or the Charity of the Donor’s Choice.