— Richard Bryant Hayes, 81, of Sanford, died Tuesday (1/28/20) at UNC Hospice Home in Pittsboro.
Mr. Hayes was born on Gulf Street in Sanford. While in junior high he was awarded Eagle Scout, Troop 44. He graduated from Sanford Central High School in 1956 and received his BSBA from UNC-Chapel Hill four years later. In 1975, Mr. Hayes received his M.A. in education from Duke University. His good friends teased him about the fitness of his mind for having attended both UNC and Duke.
He worked passionately to further education by directing university fundraising and development for Duke Medical Center; University of California-San Francisco; UNC-Chapel Hill; and College of Charleston. Mr. Hayes continued many years of fundraising for higher education through consulting work with the firm Grenzebach Glier and Associates out of Chicago.
After retirement, Mr. Hayes focused his energy on serving his home town, Sanford. As a member of the Lee County School Board (2000-2004) and the Lee County Board of Commissioners (2008-2012), he was instrumental in helping lead the design and groundbreaking of Southern Lee High School. He also spearheaded the approval of the major rebuilding of Lee County High School. Civic and community boards included Lee County Arts & Community Center, American Red Cross, The Temple Theatre, Railroad House Historical Association, Lee County Centennial Committee and Downtown Sanford, Inc. Church affiliation was the First Baptist Church of Sanford where he served as a deacon for several years.
Mr. Hayes pursued several varied interests. He enjoyed science as it related to astronomy, cosmology and space travel. As an advocate of protecting our planet, he often wrote letters to The Sanford Herald regarding this urgent matter. He established a lecture series at Central Carolina Community College on sustainable living to help mitigate global warming. Mr. Hayes celebrated beauty through classical music, art photography and the natural environment. He sang for many years in the First Baptist Church Chancel Choir in his teens, and again after his retirement. He supported the North Carolina Symphony and attended concerts whenever possible. He became a respected creative photographer of landscapes and portraits displayed in several public viewings. He took great joy in planting beautiful flora around his home. Devoted to birds, he also maintained bird houses, feeders, and birdbaths throughout the property.
Trains excited Richard, especially steam locomotives and the passenger trains of his youth. Growing up beside the Seaboard Airline Railroad, this passion grew in adulthood to a hobby with a Lionel electric train layout. His garage train room provided a scale setting for 10 trains and a village modeled on Sanford. “Children” of all ages found it delightful.
A memorial celebration is 2 p.m. Monday (2/10/20) in the sanctuary of First Baptist Church, Sanford.
In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to The Richard and Rebecca Hayes Endowed Lecture Fund for Environmental Policy and Stewardship.
To do so, contact Dr. Emily Hare at CCCC.
To send flowers to Richard's family, please visit our floral section.