Obituary: Randy R. Hayes

Randy R. Hayes of DeTour Village, Michigan, age 86, passed away suddenly on February 15, 2019. He was born to E. Nadine and A. Dale Hayes of Rockford Michigan. He graduated from Rockford High School in 1968, and married his high school sweetheart, Mary Powell in 1971.

After graduating from Grand Valley State University, Randy taught English and served as assistant football coach at Reeths-Puffer High School in Muskegon. He also taught on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota. In 1981, Randy and Mary moved to Traverse City, Michigan where he attended the Great Lakes Maritime Academy, graduating in 1984. He worked on supply boats in the Gulf of Mexico, obtaining his captain’s license while working in Texas and Louisiana. In December of 1989, while an apprentice pilot, he assisted with rescue of the Mesquite crew after the craft grounded in Lake Superior. For the past 29 years, he worked as a registered pilot in District 3, guiding ships through upper Lake Huron, the St. Mary’s River, the Soo Locks, Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. During those years he served as Chicago Harbor Pilot and most recently as a river pilot working primarily in the Saint Mary’s River and Soo Locks.

Randy’s greatest love was for his family and friends. He enjoyed tennis, golf, playing guitar and, along with Mary, participating in local activities at the DeTour Village Botanical Garden. He enjoyed helping his in-laws, Gabe and Cecile Powell with their sugar bush in Rockford. He also had a love of poetry, reciting in their entirety, poems such as If and The Tyger.

He is survived by Mary, his wife of 47 years, daughter Meredith Anne Hayes (Curt Walheim) of Los Angeles, CA, sisters Connie Hayes, and Marcia (Gary) Watkins, sister-in-laws Peggy (Jim) Falk, and Nellie Powell, Nephews Alex Falk and Aaron Hayes, and nieces Sarah (Daniel) Ewart, Kimberly (Derek) Wheeler, Sarah Hayes and Ashar Hayes.

Randy was preceded in death by his son Gabriel, brothers Bill and Gary, parents Nadine and Dale Hayes, and in-laws Cecile and Gabriel Powell.

A Celebration of Life service is planned for Saturday, April 6, 2019 at 11:30 a.m. at the Pederson Funeral Home, 127 N. Monroe Street NE, Rockford, MI. The family invites family and friends to join them at 1 p.m. in the up-stairs room of The Corner Bar, 31 N. Main Street, Rockford for lunch following the ceremony.