July 29, 1937 - March 25, 2019


Graveside Service: 2 pm April 6, 2019 at the Osawatomie Cemetery

Memorials: Osawatomie Museum Foundation or the Osawatomie Alumni Association Scholarship 

send c/o Eddy-Birchard Funeral Home

             P.O. Box 430 

             Osawatomie, KS 66064

Walter LaVelle Hays, age 81, died March 25, 2019 at the Richmond Healthcare and Rehab Center following a prolonged illness. He was born in rural Miami County, Kansas on July 29, 1937, the sixth of eight children born to Walter R. and Violet Moraine Hays.

Knon as LaVelle during his early life, Hays overcame a severe childhood illness before graduating from Osawatomie High School with the Class of 1955.  In his senior year, he won the Kansas State Sand Greens Golf Championship and went on to play golf at the Kansas State College of Pittsburg, later Pittsburg State University. There, he was a member of Gold Key Honor Society, president of the Industrial Arts Club and a member of the Student Council.  He completed three degrees at Pittsburg- Bachelor’s in Education, Master’s in Education and Education Specialist.  He taught industrial arts at both Osawatomie High School and Middle School for 35 years before retiring in 1994.  He was a lifetime member of the National Education Association and was chosen as an Osawatomie Teacher of the Year.

In 1965, he married Margaret Latinis of Coffeyville.  They had two sons- Patrick and Daniel.  Hays served in the U.S. Army Reserve 89th Wheeled Vehicle Mechanics Instructors Unit and was active in the Osawatomie Community.  He was president of the Jaycees, Rural Water District #1, Osawatomie NEA, Osawatomie Planning Commission, Osawatomie Museum Foundation and East Central Kansas Association of Retired School Personnel.  In addition, he was Assistant Scoutmaster and Advancement Chairman for Boy Scout Troop 106, Twin Rivers District Commissioner, a member of the Order of the Arrow and High Adventure group leader to Philmont Scout Ranch and Somers Canoe Base.  He was a merit badge counselor, a scout leadership instructor and recipient of the Twin Rivers District Award of Merit.

Other civic activities include building a Santa House, community signs and stadium concession stand. He restored artifacts for the Osawatomie History and Depot Museum and repaired and restored the altar chairs and pulpit at the Old Stone Church.  He built a home for his parents, taught community education programs and judged woodwork for the county fair.  He was a popular public speaker, using his abilities for the betterment of his family and home town.

Hays was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers- Raymond and Bill- and a sister, Deanna.  He is survived by his wife at the home on Hays Hill, his sons Pat (Cathy), Iuka, IL., and Dan (Julie), Geneseo, KS., and eight grandchildren- Lauren (Dacota) Sanders and Jennifer, Margaret, Ian, Zoe, Charlotte, Caleb and Mable Hays. Other family includes sister Ona Mae Neuenschwander and Linda Carter and brothers Robert and Charles, many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

He will be cremated. A graveside service will be held Saturday, April 6, at 2:00 p.m. at the Osawatomie Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the Osawatomie Museum Foundation or the Osawatomie Alumni Association Scholarship Fund. Send c/o the Eddy-Birchard Funeral Home P.O. Box 430 Osawatomie, KS 66064.