December 3, 2020
Mary Frances Hays (age 84) passed away suddenly in Bonner General Hospital on November 10, 2020. She is survived by her brother Jerry; her children, Leslie Akin, George Hays, and Paula West; grandchildren, Hailey Padilla and husband James, Jenna Caster and husband Greg, Chandler and Colby West; and great-grandchildren Cole Caster, Cora Caster and Makayla Padilla.
Born in Twin Falls, Idaho, on April 12, 1936, Mary was the daughter of Cecil and Gladys Boyd who farmed in the Twin Falls area near the Snake River with her siblings Jerry, Celia (deceased), and Tom (deceased). She graduated from Twin Falls High School in 1953, and then attended Idaho State University. In her first year of college, she met William Hays on a blind date, was completely charmed and later married October 24, 1954.
Mary was a devoted mother, beloved educator, and encouraging coach. When the family first moved to St. John, Wash., she cared for her children while receiving her bachelor's degree in physical education and art from Eastern Washington University. She then began her teaching career inspiring many students with her tough, but fair, nature, with an always encouraging and positive attitude. While teaching in St. John, she created a gym show for all students elementary through high school to showcase athletics and was well known for her square dancing and jitterbug lessons.
In 1974, Mary and her family moved to Newport, Wash., to continue teaching and coaching. For years, she taught the students of Newport Elementary in physical education. In addition to her gym shows, she started the Sadie Skippers (a jump rope organization). Mary and Bill left a profound mark on the Grizzly Nation before their retirement.
After her departure from teaching and coaching, Mary settled with her husband full time into cattle ranching in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, along the Hall Mountain ridge. Mary continued to dedicate her time to her family, helping to raise her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She became well known for her prestigious gardening and home cooking. She also stayed active in the community. A dynamic member of P.E.O. (also the president of the organization at one point), teaching water aerobics in town, and supporting sports throughout the years, she encouraged others to make the world a better place through her actions and words. Her generosity and positivity touched many hearts. She will be remembered as a strong woman who constantly saw the silver lining behind gray clouds.