- On December 3, 2020
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Age 89, of Sewickley – cherished husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and friend – died peacefully at Masonic Villages on November 29 after a short illness.
John Richard Hays was born on March 31, 1931 in Chicora, the son of Gretta Evelyn Groves and John Gabriel Hays. He graduated from Chicora High School in 1949 and joined the US Navy in 1950. He attained the rank of AG Weather Second Class Petty Officer and – after serving 19 months in Port Lyautey, French Morocco – was honorably discharged in 1953.
He returned to the U.S. and enrolled in Penn State University’s School of Business in 1954.
It was in State College that he met Julia Mae McNutt, who became his beloved wife of 49 years.
They married in December of 1954, welcoming their daughter Laura Ellen Hays in 1956.
His first job after graduating from Penn State in 1957 was with the Koppers Company in Pittsburgh. During their time in Pittsburgh, he and Julia welcomed their son Christopher Alan Hays in 1958. The family then moved to the Philadelphia area, where Rich was employed for 11 years at Scott Paper Company and where he earned his MBA at Temple University.
They returned home to the Pittsburgh area in 1971, where Rich worked for Rockwell International until his retirement. He lost his wife Julia in 2004 – just six weeks shy of their 50th wedding anniversary.
But Rich had the rare and wonderful experience of finding a second love in his life.
Carol L. Schartner of Bridgeville has been his devoted friend and companion for the past nine years. Rich was a long-time and active member of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Allison Park, as well as an enthusiastic member and Commander of American Legion Post #80.
He was a member of the North Hills Lodge #716 and received his 50-year pin in 2019. He was a 32nd Degree Mason and a member of the Syria Shrine. He enjoyed driving with the Roadrunners – delivering children to the various Shriners Hospitals.
He also enjoyed hunting, fishing, and traveling, and has amassed impressive collections of both political memorabilia and albums documenting his extensive travels. He is survived by his beloved Carol Schartner, as well as his daughter Ellen Hays (Eliot Wessler) of St. Petersburg, FL and Whitefield, NH, and his son Chris Hays of Virginia Beach, VA. Also left to mourn him are his three grandchildren Kelly Lynn Hays of Pittsburgh, as well as Daniel Hays Wessler and Rachel Hays Wessler, both of Washington DC.Rich was blessed with a great-grandson – Joseph Joshua “JJ” Hays Belliconish – also of Pittsburgh – whom he adored.
Finally, his sister-in-law Martha Jane McNutt of Masonic Villages survives him, as do Mark and Karen Allison of Denver, NC (formerly of Venetia) along with many cousins, nieces and nephews who were part of his extended family. Rich will be laid to rest in the columbarium at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, and a memorial service in his honor will be scheduled for a later date.