Darryl F. “Buck” Hayes, 88, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on November 20, 2021 after a courageous battle with Parkinson’s disease and cancer.
Buck was born in East Alton Illinois. He was the son of Louis H. Hayes and Evelyn B. Heiderscheid Hayes.
After High School graduation, Buck enlisted in the United States Army and served in the Korean War until he was discharged in 1956. He married Ginger J. Little on September 6, 1952. They had 5 children.
After the war he went to work for Olin Winchester Company in Alton, IL where he served his Machinist Apprenticeship.
In 1958 he moved his family to Los Alamos, NM and went to work for Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory as a Master Machinist for 34 years until his retirement in late 1992. Buck was instrumental in starting the Machinist Apprenticeship Program at LANL and he also started the Machine Tool Techniques Class at the UNM/LA Campus.
He was active in many community clubs and organizations which included Little League Baseball, Lassie League Softball, YAFL Football, coaching numerous women’s softball teams, an active player in the Men’s Slow Pitch League and President of the LAHS Boosters Club. Buck loved the outdoors and would take his grandkids hunting and fishing. He was an avid member of the Ducks Unlimited and The Elks Lodge (BPOE 2083) in Los Alamos.
One of Buck’s most cherished activities was his role as Santa Claus every Christmas Season at Clement and Benner Department Store. He would deliver Christmas gifts to friends and co-workers families on Christmas Eve. He loved seeing the expressions on the children’s faces when they opened the door and saw Santa standing on their doorstep. This was a role that he truly loved and is remembered by many to this day.
Those that knew Buck knew him to be a “Gentle Giant”, kindhearted, a caring man who always loved a good joke. He was never afraid to step up to a challenge. One of his favorite sayings was “life is no hill for a stepper”.
In 1993 Buck and Ginger moved to Las Vegas, Nevada to enjoy their retirement years. They enjoyed many activities which included bowling in leagues in the Las Vegas area, playing pinochle with friends, going to the nearby senior center, and his favorite past time of all was eating at the “All you can eat” buffets. They made many new friends while they looked forward to their Wednesday afternoon trips to the nearby casinos. Buck never met a stranger and with Buck handshakes, hugs and a big smile were plentiful and free.
Dad will be missed by his children who truly loved this remarkable man.
Buck is preceded in death by his parents, sisters Anita and Estelle and his eldest son Dennis. He is survived by his wife Ginger whom he adored and cherished for 69 years, his brother Earl, children Charlene (Brian) Houston TX, Darlene (Mike) Los Alamos NM, Renee, Las Vegas NV and son Darryl Jr. Albuquerque NM, many nieces and nephews and numerous friends, 8 Grandchildren and 10 Great Grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Parkinson’s Foundation or Michael J. Fox Foundation or to Buck and Gingers favorite charity The St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. A private family service will be held at a later date.