MISSOULA ~ Mark O. Hayes, age 74, of Missoula, Montana passed away November 19, 2020.
He was born October 7, 1946 to Gano and Elizabeth Hayes of Yelm, Washington. He is survived by his lovely wife Barbara, his two daughters Geneva (Leon) Lieser and Valencia Hayes, his two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Mark served honorably in the U.S. Army, from 1964 to 1969, flying helicopters in Viet Nam and Germany. After his military service, he returned to Olympia, Washington where he worked for, and retired from the Olympia Brewing Company. During that time, he focused on family and helping his daughters learn and grow, including volunteering with the local 4-H horse program.
Geneva remembers fishing the Deschutes River with Mark for hours. He taught her where to find bait and put the line in the water for the best results. Whether it was riding dirt bikes, making jewelry, or all things horse, Mark often said that anything was possible if you put your mind to it. “Dad always had our back and we knew it. His support, and the expectation that we work hard (homework, stacking wood, or whatever needed to be done), resulted in me growing up with confidence and a can do attitude which I will cherish always.”
Valencia recalls how Dad was there when we needed guidance in behavior, schoolwork or life. He took us to the Portland Gem Show in 1984, we were trusted to be exhibitors. A few years later, we replaced the clutch plate in my first car. His theory was that if he was working on it, I was too. His go-to line when I was in Algebra was, “It has been a long time since I’ve done this, you’re going to have to help me remember it.” Halfway through the explanation it would click, and I understood the concept. (This may be why I am a Math teacher now.) My senior year, I was running late so he ironed my homecoming dress. He had, yet again, saved my day. Years later, Dad helped my children discover the love of fishing; now the great-grandchildren love fishing too.
Mark moved to Missoula about twenty years ago where married Barbara in 2005. They took care of and brought out the best in each other. Mark and Barbara celebrated faith and found an extended family at Journey Christian Fellowship.
Mark loved to learn and embraced life as an ongoing opportunity to experience something new. He was blessed with many creative talents including writing stories and poetry, cooking, making jewelry, and photography. He was an avid outdoorsman, one of many gifts, which he passed on to his daughters who were truly blessed to call him Dad.
Arrangements are under the care of Garden City Funeral Home in Missoula.