Charles Esmay Hayes

July 11, 1929 – April 4, 2014

Charles Esmay Hayes
Charles Esmay Hayes

Charles Esmay Hayes, 84, died April 4, 2014, at Saint Vincent’s Hospital, in Billings. Charles, or Chuck, as most people called him, was born in Baker, Mont., on July 11, 1929, to Jesse and Lillian Hayes. Chuck was the oldest of three children. Chuck grew up in Baker and graduated from high school in 1947.

After high school, Chuck attended George Williams College in Chicago for a year, then returned to Montana to finish his degree at the Montana State University, Bozeman. At the university, Chuck wrestled for the Montana Bobcats, while earning his bachelor of science degree.

After graduating from college in 1951, Chuck served in the United States Navy for three years. He moved to San Diego to attend Hospital Corpsman School, at Balboa Park. He then went to the Naval Reserve Officers’ Candidate School in Newport Beach, R.I. After being discharged, he moved back to Baker, where he met the love of his life, Elizabeth (Betty) Ruth Morton.

Chuck married Betty on Oct. 24, 1953, in Baker. The couple moved to Geraldine, Mont., where Chuck taught and coached for three years.

Chuck also joined the Fraternal Order of Freemasons in December of 1954. In Geraldine, Chuck and Betty’s first child, Karen, was born. Chuck’s young family enjoyed living in the rural country of Geraldine, but after three years of teaching and coaching, Chuck yearned to return home to Baker. While in Baker, Chuck sold insurance and taught chemistry for one year.

Chuck became adventurous again and decided to move his family to the big city of Billings in 1960. Chuck and Betty lived in Billings for several years while raising their four children. While in Billings, Chuck worked for Northwest Fixture, selling restaurant equipment. He became an entrepreneur and started his own stock brokerage firm with his good friend, Bill Parker. Chuck and Bill sold stocks until 1968. Chuck grew tired of selling stocks and returned to teaching. He taught science in Columbus, Mont., for one year, and Park City, Mont. for two years.

In the fall of 1971, Chuck applied for and obtained a teaching position in Cowley. Chuck also earned his Masters of Natural Science at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion in 1972. He taught high school chemistry and physics in Cowley for 12 years. During the summer months, Chuck worked for Townsend Agricultural Services.

Chuck continued to teach when Cowley consolidated with Byron and Deaver to become Rocky Mountain High School. He taught from the fall of 1983 until he retired in May of 1989. After retirement, Chuck continued to part-time team-teach with Richard Mayes. They taught “Principals of Technology,” for another five years.

After “retirement,” Chuck was not yet through working; he became a night watchman at Georgia Pacific from October 1995 – April 2001. After years of working, Chuck officially retired at the age of 72. Once retired, he enjoyed golfing and fishing until he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. After several radiation treatments, Chuck defeated the cancer; however, he was left with much pain that limited his once active life.

Chuck loved to golf, fish and watch sporting events on TV, especially the Denver Broncos. Chuck was a Mason in the Masonic Lodge from 1954, and served as secretary from 1991-1998. Chuck valued the fellowship of the Masons.

He also liked to barbecue hamburgers on the grill. He knew just when to turn the patties, right when the blood surfaced to the top.

Chuck enjoyed teaching chemistry and physics. He chuckled while watching his students’ faces when an experiment popped or reacted in a surprising manner. Chuck was always interested in the students that he taught. He wanted to know all about their lives where they lived, and what they were doing with themselves.

Chuck worried about his kids, hoping all was well. He got a kick out of his grandchildren’s mischievous shenanigans. He was always interested in hearing about their golf scores and how they were faring in school. Chuck’s kids and grandkids always knew that they were special in his eyes.

Chuck is survived by his wife, Betty Hayes, and their four children and spouses: Karen (Frank) Hinckley of Cowley, Dean (Jana) Hayes of Great Falls, Mont., Ann (Schuyler) Hinckley of Cowley, David (Trisha) Hayes of Cowley; 15 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Also surviving is Chuck’s sister, Genevieve Stenbak of Bozeman, sister-in-law, Jennie Hayes of Denver, six nieces and one nephew.

Funeral services will be held Friday, April 11, 2014, at 1 p.m., at the Lovell United Methodist Church. A viewing/visitation will be held on Thursday, April 10, from 5-7 p.m. at Haskell Funeral Home. Burial will take place at the Cowley Cemetery.

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