Amherst Magazine

John Thompson Hayes '62

Submitted by Craig H. Morgan

From The Olio

Hayes JOHN THOMPSON HAYES
40 Romola Road, Worchester Mass.
Prepared at North High School
Biology
Independent
Skiing 1,2,
Cross-Country "1962" Co-Captain, "A" 2,3,4.
Track 1, "A", 2,4
Christian Association. Glee Club. Outing Club, President

John Thompson (Jack) Hayes '62 died July 31, 2004.
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In Memory

Here is a link to a wonderful obituary in the in the Augusta Chronicle .

and here is the text of the eulogy given by his close friend and colleague William Lawless--

I have known Jack and Pat Hayes for over 20 years. Jack was an individual of many facets; but I only knew a small part of his life.

The loss of Jack has been profound. Many have come to me and told stories of what Jack had meant to them, and some have cried. Deeply religious people are able to find comfort at a time like this, as it should be. But I am not so fortunate.

As a scientist, I know that humans build meanings and values in all that we do. But we cannot go beyond those meanings and values. We tend to construct opinions of others based on whether they agree with us or not.

Now if you ask me for an opinion about something, I will tell you what I think, warts and all. But Jack was simply incapable of seeing warts.

In reflecting on our friendship, as surprising as it seems to me now, I recall no negative comments by Jack, neither on politics, Paine College, religion, nor science.

Voltaire struggled to find meaning in life. To fully savor the joys of life, Voltaire wrote, we should devote ourselves to family and friends and work, like Jack’s love for his wife and family, his college and colleagues, his church and music, and those “phantom crane flies”.

Jack always bragged to me about Pat as a medical expert and a gifted grant writer who could advance my research. He often suggested to me that his children, and one day soon his grandchildren, could help me with a research, computer or programming problem.

Jack regarded the National Institutes of Health as a great National treasure. He was proud of our NIH grant at Paine and that he had encouraged many of our colleagues to take advantage of it by writing mini-grants, helping Paine College to become a leader among small Historically Black Colleges in funding faculty and student grants, now totaling 27 over 4 years.

Jack deeply loved Paine and its students. Just this summer he told me that nothing pleased him more than how his students responded to his butterfly garden.

Jack was a good colleague who wrote notes to me most every day about scientific conferences, new discoveries in astronomy, or potential research funds. Unlike other colleagues, when Jack reviewed a paper that I had carefully written, he would send it back to me marked up in red, green and blue ink, often with pages and pages of notes attached.

Jack had a gentle sense of humor. In 1990 when I was working on my Ph.D. at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA, unannounced, Jack had stopped for ice cream at Gillie’s restaurant where we ran into each other. Over the years he often recalled and laughed about our chance meeting.

Jack often talked about his research on phantom crane flies. Do you know why they are called “phantom” crane flies? Their legs are thin and black with white sheaths near the tips, and when they fly under a shady tree, everything disappears except the white spots, appearing and disappearing like a “phantom”.

Jack was also very proud of his ability to run in races. Tying all of Jack’s life together for me is a single line from Rudyard Kipling’s poem … “If you can fill the unforgiving minute with 60 seconds’ worth of distance run”.

That was Jack to me. Each second of each minute of his life filled with nothing to spare.

But more than that, Jack was my friend, and I will miss him, deeply.

From Our Reunion Book

Like his father before him (Class of 1931) and brother after (Class of 1970), Jack loved Amherst and treasured his years there. At Amherst he was very self-directed, very independent. (And Independent, having dropped out of the fraternity system shortly after pledging.) He was also--we all seem to agree--very quiet. But not to worry -- that would change.

At Amherst, his understated manner masked his passions. He loved running, and became Cross-Country Co-Captain. He loved hiking, and became Outdoor Club President. He loved singing--as did his father as Class Choregus, and his brother. He sang in the Glee Club, and had fond memories of singing the premier of Frostiana. He was quite spiritual, was a member of the Christian Association, and considered attending a seminary. But above all---under the guidance of Lincoln Brower, who lured him away from Physics---he came to love Biology.

He was a busy guy at Amherst, interweaving his activities with weekend expeditions to Simmons College in Boston to visit his high school sweetheart, Nancy Van Dyke. They were married three years after graduation, .

After Amherst, he went to Cornell to earn a PhD in Biology, with a specific interest in insect ecology. It was during this period---was he inspired by the Monarch Butterfly ??--- that he buzzed on his Vespa from Worcester, MA down to the Archbold Biological Facility in central Florida, where he spent the summer studying protective mimicry..

After Cornell in 1968 he and Nancy moved to Aiken, SC, where their marriage fell apart soon after the birth of their two children, Jonathan (Jon) in 1969 and Dianne (Di) in 1972. He had gone to Aiken to take a job assessing the ecological impact of the Savannah River Nuclear Site, but within two years he joined the faculty of Paine College in Augusta, where he became a tireless, super-accessible, beloved teacher and administrator. He chaired the Dept of Biology, and later the Division of Natural Science and Math---appropriate since he maintained an active interest in all the natural sciences. He founded a pre-professional curriculum. He nurtured young faculty. He trained students and staff to make good use of computers. He established a butterfly garden. And he orchestrated Paine College receiving many research grants from NIH and NSF. His work at Paine became his calling, and he treasured all the students who later returned to express their gratitude .

In 1979, three years after his breakup with Nancy, he walked into Augusta's famed Le Cafe Naturel and met his true love and lifetime soul-mate, Patricia Lynch. They were both spiritual, she starting out as a nun. They both loved music, she playing a harp. They both were service-minded, she working as Nurse Practitioner at a health center serving the indigent and homeless. They were both champion grant-application writers, both high-tech early adopters/trainers, both interested in genealogy (later to turn out two books together). Above all, their outlook on life was so in sync that Jack would often remark during the twenty-five years that followed, "Are you sure we didn't grow up together?" However, it was a love he almost missed, because he lost her phone number, and was reduced to returning every night until she happened to come again for a going-away party--her own.

They took their vows in 1980, and sealed the marriage with the birth of Robert (Robbie] in 1982.

While at Paine, he kept up with his other interests. He continued to monitor the Savannah River Site. He hiked the southern tip of the Appalachian Trail (probably at the same time as his parents and siblings were hiking its northern reaches.). In any outdoor setting, he was fascinated by all aspects---the geology, flora, fauna, ecology---and would enthusiastically draw his companions into the world of his awareness, be they students, friends, or family. He sailed on the Clarks Hill Reservoir. He ran several Marine Corp Marathons. He ran the annual Atlanta Peachtree 10K twenty-five years straight, many of these with Di. He rowed, picking up this interest from Di and Robbie both doing crew. He sang in the Augusta Choral Society, and later in the Augusta Collegium Musicum.. He was very involved in the Augusta Unitarian Universalist Church, and sang in its choir. He was busy, happy, gregarious, and garrulous, without an unkind word to say about anyone.

In was in the midst of this very full life, ---- in July of 2004, three weeks after his 25th Peachtree 10K --- he woke up, went to the bathroom, and discovered a bit of blood in his urine. He and Pat agreed he needed to go in that day to get it checked out. It was the beginning of a completely unexpected auto-immune attack, a rare condition termed cold agglutenin disorder. Despite all efforts to save him, he died four days later, with Pat and his three children by his side.. His ashes were spread by his family at high tide into Casco Bay, Maine, where in his youth the Hayes family spent their summers.

He hauled his whole family up to Amherst for our 25th, and almost certainly he would want to haul them back for our 50th, including his two grand-kids (by Di).

---Craig Morgan '62, with William Hayes '70. William Lawless, and Patricia Lynch-Hayes


 
Jack at Amherst
At Amherst

Jack at Paine
At Paine


 
Memorial Windows
Memorial Stained Glass Windows at Jack's Church