Claude Hayes

Tuesday, April 9, 2024 4:37 am

Claude William Hayes, age 84, of Decorah (formerly of Corning), passed away peacefully on Sunday, April 7, 2024, at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minn., surrounded by his family.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 13, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Decorah, with Rev. David Wrightsman presiding.

Visitation will be from 10 a.m. until the time of service on Saturday at the church.

Helms Funeral Home is assisting with the arrangements.

Claude was born on Aug. 13, 1939, in Atlantic, Iowa, to Merrill Lloyd Hayes and Cathryn Shuler Hayes and raised with his three brothers – Cliff, Bob, and Tom.  A 1957 graduate from Atlantic High School, Claude earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Iowa State University in 1963 before heading to College Station, Texas to attend Texas A&M and complete his doctorate in Chemistry.

Claude married Harriet Rasmussen in their hometown of Atlantic, Iowa, starting their adventure together in 1964. They have three children – Tim (1966), Heidi (1968), and Dan (1973).

After graduating from Texas A&M, Claude took a position as a chemist with the Bartlesville Energy Research Center in Oklahoma, but soon decided to move out of his basement laboratory and up the career ladder, applying his skills and sense of adventure to the fields of southwest Iowa.  For the next 44 years, Claude and Harriet took on the challenge of farming 160 acres, cultivating corn, oats, soybeans, hay and raising hogs and cattle, not to mention Tim, Heidi, and Dan (and way too many zucchini). In 2011, they moved to Decorah, Iowa and the “Fun House” aptly named by all that gather there frequently for fun, food, and family.

Retirement brought more adventure for Claude as he travelled with Harriet to visit his kids, spread around the country and the globe.  This included cheering on grandkids on the cross-country course and at their music concerts, hiking in Colorado, mountain biking in Tahoe and Cyprus, running half marathons in San Francisco and Des Moines, as well embracing the local food and culture.  Claude’s quick wit, warmth, curiosity, love of his family, and his quest for the perfect tennis serve stayed with him until his final breath.

Claude was preceded in death by his parents; step-mother Wilma Hayes Henderson; father- and mother-in-law Reiner and Ida Rasmussen; and brother Cliff.  Claude is survived by his wife Harriet of Decorah; children Tim (Kristin) of Decorah, Heidi (Rick) of Shingle Springs, Calif., and Dan (Sophia) of Nicosia, Cyprus; grandchildren Lydia, Gus, and Arlo Hayes of Decorah, Tinos, Markos, and Natalie Hayes of Nicosia, Cyprus; and brothers Tom (Kathy) Hayes of Atlantic, IA and Bob (Sandy) Hayes of Muscatine, IA.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that remembrances be made in the form of contributions to the Good Shepard Lutheran Church of Decorah, IA; the Decorah Food Bank; or to your favorite charity in Claude’s name.

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