Donald Hayes, 76 of Adel passed away Tuesday, June 7, 2022 at his residence. Donald was born July19,1945 to the late William Elmer Hayes and Fannie Day Hayes. He was a devout Christain of the Baptist faith.
Don played football with the Cook High Hornets and helped put them on the state and national stage. In 1964, he was Vince Dooley’s first recruit to the University of Georgia. Following Don’s passing, Coach Dooley was quoted to say, “Donald helped us get going in those early years. We moved him from fullback to guard and he was among only four pure natural blockers we ever had in my 25 years of coaching. He caught a tackle eligible pass against Mississippi State that enabled us to beat them that eventually led to our first SEC Championship in 1966. Great player… Great Man!” Don was nicknamed “Heavy” Hayes while at UGA for his heavy hits. Upon completion of his college career, he was drafted by the New Orleans Saints.
While at UGA, he studied Industrial Arts, which he used throughout his career in various ways. Deep rooted to his life on the family farm, he also pursued his interest in horticulture.
Along with his son, Bill, he was able to follow his true dream, the culinary arts. They co-owned two fine dining restaurants, Hannah’s of Adel and Hannah’s of Valdosta named after his granddaughter. His children and grandchildren were the love and highlight of his life. He never missed an opportunity to gather with family whether it was a holiday, birthday, sporting event, or even a family meal.
Survivors include his daughter, Andrea (Mark) Pait of Eustis, Fl; grandchildren, Gage Pait of Eustis, Fl, and Hannah Pait of Eustis, Fl; brothers, Johnny (Susan) Hayes of Adel, and Edward Hayes of Adel; sisters, Donna Lyons of Warner Robins, GA, Myrtice MacGregor of Kissimmee, Fl, and Joan Hester of Adel; he was so loved by his many nieces and nephews. Don was preceded in death by his precious son, Bill Hayes; brothers, Carroll Hayes, and Charles Hayes; and his two sisters, LaNell Sumner, and Faye Gaskins.
A celebration of life was held Friday, June 10, 2022 at the residence of Joan Hester. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.purvisfh.com. Purvis Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.