Ron Hayes

Lewiston Lewiston Morning Tribune,

Ronnie R. Hayes, 70, Boise, Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ronnie (Ron) Roger Hayes, 70, passed away of natural causes Monday, Jan. 26, 2009, at his residence in Boise. He was born at Wichita, Kan., March 8, 1938, to Russ and Ethyle Hayes. The family moved to Sioux Falls, S.D., in 1940 and then to Mitchell, S.D. In 1944, the family moved to Boise, where he was raised along with a younger sister and brother. He was baptized in the Methodist Church in 1938 and remained a member of the Methodist Church throughout his life.

Ron was active in Boy Scouts and attended the 1953 National Boy Scout Jamboree at Irvine Ranch, Calif., along with his father and 45,000 other Boy Scouts from around the country.

He was a baseball player in the position of pitcher and played throughout his youth into Legion and semi-professional baseball. As a youth he played basketball and enjoyed being a golf caddy for his dad.

Ron grew up in the Boise School District, attending North Junior High and graduating from Boise High School in 1956. He attended Boise Junior College before transferring to Idaho State University at Pocatello.

He joined the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves when he was 17 years old and served three years with the 44th Special Infantry USMCR while simultaneously attending ROTC classes at ISU, where he graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism and social sciences in 1962. He became the fifth generation in his family to become a teacher. He received an honorable discharge from the Marines in 1959.

He met his wife, Marcia, in Boise and they married in 1960; eventually they moved to Lewiston, where he was hired as a teacher and coach with Lewiston High School. He raised his three children in Lewiston, and although he and Marcia divorced, she remained a loyal friend to Ron until his death.

He taught journalism, English, history and photography, from 1962 until 1985 at LHS. He was instrumental in creating one of the most successful high school journalism programs in the nation during his tenure at the high school. He was awarded Journalism Teacher of the Year in 1969 and again in 1973. He received multiple awards from the Wall Street Journal dating back to the mid-1960s for outstanding teaching and leadership in high school journalism.

The Bengals Purr won national awards 14 consecutive years in a row under his teaching, and was the only high school newspaper in the country to ever win the award more than 10 consecutive years by the Columbia Press. Ron taught journalism workshops throughout the country and pioneered using cartoons to motivate, and teach students the dynamics and structure of grammar, and of journalism. The Purr continued to win awards and receive national attention for 23 years until 1985, when he left LHS and returned to Boise to be near his family, where he continued to teach until he retired in 2003.

He wrote and published a book in 1981 about the first Idaho Territorial Newspaper and the Idaho Ghost Rush that occurred in the 1800s. Ron received a master's degree in journalism from the University of Montana at Missoula in 1982.

He taught multiple journalism workshops at the University of Idaho at Moscow. He had a passion for ghost towns, gold mining and the old West, and traveled throughout the West visiting such places, and documenting his travels with thousands of pictures.

He worked for Butch Alford at the Lewiston Morning Tribune as a regional editor and reporter from 1966 to 1974. He admired Butch and spoke highly of him often to his students in his journalism teachings. He was a reporter and photographer for the Spokane Daily Chronicle and a UP correspondent from 1974 to 1983 in the Lewiston area.

He was a reserve sheriff's deputy for 13 years, always taking extreme pride in his uniform and appearance as he volunteered thousands of hours to the community, and also used his photography skills to take crime scene photos long before the term "CSI" existed.

He enjoyed a wonderful friendship with Sandy Shillingstad of Meridian for the last eight years of his life. She was very dear to his heart.

He was a season ticket holder at the Boise Hawks and enjoyed Boise State University football games. He enjoyed a friendship with his college friend Steve Detmer. His friend Diana Sullivan was compassionate, and made him laugh and smile. Ron had a loyal friend he called "Screwy Louie" who liked to play jokes on Ron. He had a lifelong friendship with his grade-school friend Bob Greer, whom he admired as they shared hunting time together and many laughs.

A special thanks to the Jim and Renee Cusick family, and their six children of Lewiston, who were always there in a family, student-teacher, and best friend capacity to Ron, and the Hayes family. Thank you to Molly Mannschreck of Boise, a former student and amazing optometrist who took great care of Ron. Thank you to Bill and Susan Mauk of Boise, who were always patient and understanding.

Ron's love of fishing and hunting and his passion for the outdoors were evident throughout his lifetime. He shot a black bear, a bobcat and rattlesnakes, and enjoyed hunting pheasants, chukars, deer and elk. Even if he didn't catch a fish or shoot game, Ron felt that just getting into the outdoors was the reward itself. He also loved his K9 friends; from his boyhood dog Tip, to the several black and brown labs, Ron found companionship with his dogs. He had a passion for guns and was a expert marksman with a pistol.

He spoke often and highly of his colleagues and enjoyed spending time with Ron Mikkelson, John Fisher, Ron Karlberg, Ira Grass, Bob Yoeman, John Jennings and Gerald Boetteger, among others.

Ron is survived by his former wife, Marcia Hayes; his son Robert Hayes of Spokane; daughter, Robyn Hamacher of Eugene, Ore.; son Randy Hayes of Moscow; his sister, Karen Davis and brother-in-law Walter Davis of Portland, Ore.; his brother, Robert Hayes of Vacaville, Calif.; his stepsister, Dorothy Sater of Omaha, Neb.; six grandchildren, Austin, Ashlyn, and Andrew Hayes, and Kolby, Samantha and Aaron Hamacher; and four nieces and nephews, Scott Davis, Lisa Estes, Shannon Hilshiem, and Ronald Hayes.

A viewing will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Summers Funeral Home in downtown Boise. Funeral services will be conducted at 11 a.m. Thursday at Summers Funeral Home, followed by a graveside service at Dry Creek Cemetery.

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