HARRISBURG -- Mike Hays, 78, passed away at 1:30 a.m. Monday, June 12, 2017, at home with his wife, Beverly, by his side.
He was born Nov. 5, 1938, in Harrisburg to Paul and Essie (Gidcumb) Hays. He married his high school sweetheart, Beverly Bishop, on Dec. 26, 1959, in Raleigh, and they had five daughters.
Mike graduated from Harrisburg Township High School in 1956 and then attended SIUC and received his bachelor's degree in education. He started working as a schoolteacher after college in Kinmundy and then returned to Harrisburg, where he taught health, P.E. and driver's education for 30 years at the high school.
He also coached football, basketball and baseball. He truly enjoyed coaching the young men, who played for him, and teaching a multitude of students how to drive. Both provided years of memories, stories and the start of his high blood pressure.
After Mike retired, he and Beverly traveled the country in their RV and lived as snowbirds at East Lake Campground in Kissimmee, Florida, from 2007 until his stroke in 2015.
Mike also took great pride in HTHS Class of 1956 and was very active planning reunions and class gatherings. He loved spending time with his family and friends and telling them stories about things he thought were story-worthy, which was everything.
Survivors include his wife, Beverly; daughters, Julie (Ron) Davis of Spring City, Tennessee, Patti (Greg) Simpson of Harrisburg, Shari (Chris) Barter of Harrisburg and Karen (Hays) Bradley (honorary daughter/best birthday present ever) of Greeneville, Tennessee; grandchildren, Madison Davis of Charlotte, North Carolina, Bo Davis of Cookeville, Tennessee, and Preston Simpson, Landon Simpson and Michaela Barter, all of Harrisburg; siblings, Pete Hays of "wherever his wheels stop" and Martha (Dennis) Winter of Pinckneyville; niece and nephews, Diane and David Hays and Ryan and Kyle Winter; numerous great-nieces and great-nephews; in-laws Norman (Felicia) Bishop and Velma (Jack) Wiggins; and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.
He was preceded in death by two infant daughters, Pamela Gail and Catherine Jill; his parents, Paul and Essie (Gidcumb) Hays; brothers, Bill Hays and Bob Hays; sisters-in-law, Carol Ann (Butler) Hays and Joann (Able) Hays; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Clive and Elizabeth (Dugger) Bishop; and brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Phillip Dale and Bonnie Bishop and Darrel and Alice Nell Bishop.
A special thank you for the caring and kindness of family friends, Michaela King McGowan, Taunya Russell and Karen Boyd; and Hospice of Southern Illinois.
Funeral services will be at 3 p.m. Thursday, June 15, in Reed Funeral Chapel in Harrisburg with the Rev. Chris Winkleman officiating. Burial will follow in Raleigh Masonic Cemetery. Visitation will be from 1 to 3 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home.
Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Southern Illinois.