With profound sadness we announce the passing of Barbara Jane Hays (née Hegan), who died peacefully on January 7, 2021 with her loving and devoted husband, Russ, by her side. She was 74 years old.
Barbara was born in Maywood, Illinois, the third daughter of Dorothea Jane Hegan (née Knoernschild) and Wherritt Werden Hegan. She attended Proviso East High School, where she forged life-long friendships and where she first met the love of her life and future husband, Russell Hays. Following her graduation from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in 1968, Barbara focused on raising her four children. More than a quarter century after leaving Proviso East, Barbara was reunited with her high school sweetheart, to whom she was married on October 21, 1991. Russ and Barbara were delighted to welcome a daughter in 1993. Their life together was an adventure that brought them from coast to coast many times over, and ultimately led them to Colorado where Barbara enjoyed her final years surrounded by family. She loved her book clubs, her mahjong and bridge groups, and her Bible study.
Barbara is best remembered for her devotion to her 5 children and 11 grandchildren, her adoration of her husband, her unwavering commitment to the SPCA and her incredible generosity. From humble beginnings, Barbara honed her empathy and compassion for those less fortunate, and she did not miss an opportunity to lift those in need. She found some of her greatest joy in helping neglected or abused animals.
Barbara is predeceased by her parents and her sister, Betsy. She is survived by her loving, devoted husband of almost 30 years, Russell, her sons Brian (Annie) and Andrew (Laura), daughters Brenda, Catherine (Brian) and Madeline, grandchildren William, Cornelia, Grant, Fionn, Gizachew, Claire, Simon, Aoife, AJ, Fiona, and Skye, and by her sister, Virginia.
Should you wish to honor Barbara’s spirit, heart and life, please consider making a donation in her memory to the SPCA of Monterey County, California.