George R. Hayes, 92, of Gloucester Point, passed away at home on Jan. 4, 2018.
He was the only son of the late Rodney and Alice Hayes of Gloucester, and was predeceased by his sister, Ann Pierce.
He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Betty Simms Hayes; two sons, Rod (Betty) and Paul; a daughter, Claire (Robert Brant); five grandsons; five great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Gloucester County was George’s home from the beginning to the end. Although a lifetime water-lover, harsh winter days spent on his father’s fishing boat piqued his interest in higher education. He began his studies in the Corps of Cadets at VPI (now Virginia Tech) in 1942. After one year he volunteered for the Army Air Corps where he served as a navigator. When the war and his service were complete, he returned to VPI and in 1949 earned his degree in engineering.
After graduating, George came home to Gloucester County where he worked in the engineering and construction field in private industry for five years. In 1954, he started work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. After two years, he transferred to the U.S. Air Force at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton where he spent most of his career. For 24 years he held the position of Director of Operations and Maintenance, Deputy Chief of Staff, Engineering and Services, Headquarters Tactical Air Command. His responsibilities included supervision of engineering support, monitoring design and construction of new facilities, and supervision of fire protection and crash rescue operations for TAC facilities at 18 major bases, the DEW Line and numerous smaller installations. His signature whistle and extraordinary management style left Langley in 1988.
No one was surprised when the retirement didn’t take, and within the year, George went to work as the Facilities Manager at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science at Gloucester Point. He worked there for over a decade and enjoyed many challenges. During those years he really appreciated his short commute!
George was always committed to public service. He was especially proud of co-founding the Abingdon Volunteer Fire Company and was the first president in the early 1950s. He served eight years on the Gloucester County School Board, several terms on the vestry of Abingdon Episcopal Church, 20 years with the Gloucester County Wetlands Board, many years on the board of Rappahannock Community College, and nearly four decades on the board of the Langley Federal Credit Union.
He was always a source of strength and support for his family, friends, co-workers, church and community. He lived his life with optimism, humor, compassion, determination and persistence. His mantra was that you get out of life what you contribute to others, and when George asked “What can I do to help you?” he meant it and he followed through.
Visitation was from 5-6:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 8, at Hogg Funeral Home, Gloucester Point. Funeral service conducted by the Rev. Sven vanBaars was held at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 9 at Abingdon Episcopal Church in Gloucester.
In our loved one’s memory, contributions may be made to Abingdon Volunteer Fire and Rescue, Inc., P.O. Box 9, Bena, Va. 23018 (www.avfr.com) or to Abingdon Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 82, White Marsh, Va. 23183 (www.AbingdonChurch.org).
Please visit www.hoggfh.com to share condolences and memories with the family.