Verna B. Hayes

Tuesday, May 12, 2015 6:26 pm

Verna B. Hayes, 80, of Decorah, died peacefully surrounded by her family, Saturday evening, April 18, 2015, at Aase Haugen Senior Services in Decorah. Mass of Christian Burial was at 10:30 a.m. Friday, April 24, at St. Benedict Catholic Church in Decorah, with Rev. Phillip Gibbs officiating. Burial was in St. Benedict Catholic Cemetery in Decorah. Visitation was from 4-6 p.m. Thursday, April 23, at Fjelstul Funeral Home in Decorah and Friday beginning at 9:30 a.m., one hour before the service, at the church. Online condolences may be made at fjelstul.com. Organist was Mary Beth Bouska. Cantor was Cindy Schissel. Hymns were “Amazing Grace,” “Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling,” “Whatsoever You Do” and “On Eagle’s Wings.” Casket bearers were Joshua Blegen, Michael Blegen, Jacob Long, Colton Hayes, Rich Hayes and Arden Gjere. Interment was at St. Benedict Catholic Cemetery in Decorah.

Verna Belle (Dodge) Hayes was born April 8, 1935, at home in Staples, Minn., the daughter of Lyle I. and Audrey Mae (Johnson) Dodge. As her dad was in the military, her family lived in numerous locations eventually settling in Two Harbors, Minn. She attended Minnehaha Elementary and Two Harbors High School. Verna was united in marriage to Paul W. (Billy) Hayes Oct. 10, 1951, at Holy Ghost Catholic Church in Two Harbors. This union was blessed with five children: Michael, Linda, Laura, Lanea and Patrick. Her first employment was at Bit of Norway in Two Harbors. She was engaged to Paul when he was in the military and resided in Decorah for a short time. After Paul’s military service they moved to Chicago. In 1961 they made their home in Decorah, Paul’s hometown, and continued to grow and raise their family. During the early years in Decorah Verna worked outside the home at the Cliff House Restaurant, Deco Products and Mike’s Fruit Market, where she was able to continue her enjoyment of gardening and flowers. Verna also enjoyed painting of all kinds, including rosemaling, tolepainting, rocks, gourds and saw blades. She also enjoyed playing cards, listening to music, but most of all she loved talking and mingling with family, friends and most anyone, as she was a people person with the “ gift of gab.” Verna’s home was filled with love and sentiments to remind her of all the treasured little things in daily life. Verna was admitted into Aase Haugen Senior Services Jan. 27, 2015. 

Verna is survived by her five children: Michael P. (Judy) Hayes of Stites, Idaho, Linda J. (Arden) Gjere of Decorah, Laura A. (Richard) Hayes of Simms, Mont., Lanea M. Avila of Moriarty, N.M. and Patrick I. (Crystal) Hayes of Lockridge; 10 grandchildren: Tierra Stone, Joshua (Kelly) Blegen, Jessica Mangiaracina, Michael (Jessica) Blegen, Megan (Jacob) Long, Heather (Jeremiah) Neef, Arielle Avila, Angel Kamp, Savannah Hayes and Colton Hayes; 11 great-grandchildren; one step-brother, Donald Peterson; one uncle, Noel Dodge, and special cousins: Arlene Brickley, Wyonne Bucheit, Vernelle Kabliska, Lois (Rudy) Terrazas, Vivian (Ray) Armejo and Luna Mae Loun.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her step-father, Ralph J. Peterson; her husband, Paul, Sept. 8, 2000; her sister, Velva Jean Dodge; her brother, in infancy Leon; one granddaughter, Misty Hayes; one great-grandson, Angelice Buhr; and her “smiling” dog, Cappy.

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