Nicholas Ryan Hayes, of Covington, Georgia, was born Saturday, June 16, 1979 in Ardmore, Oklahoma to James Lester and Deborah Mae (Vernon) Hayes. He passed from this life Friday, July 2, 2021 at his home in Georgia at the age of 42 years and 16 days.
Nicholas grew up in Wilson, where he loved small town life and learned the importance of a relentless work ethic and service and commitment to others, whether it was helping Dad chalk the ball fields for the Wilson Little League, watching Mom work long hours and multiple jobs to support the family, or the hours spent with Grandma Meady Mae at the Kiddie Korner Day Care.
Nicholas attended Wilson Schools through 10th grade, where he had many lifelong friends and was a well-liked student and teammate, but his love of the game of baseball drove him to become a Turner Falcon, where he graduated with the class of 1998.
Nick discovered a passion for hunting dogs from nights spent at the Coonhunter’s Association south of Wilson to the red clay hills of West Alabama running deer with James, Chris, Uncle Mark, cousin Jerry and Papa Hayes. This lifelong passion for dogs followed him to Georgia where he paid homage to his Oklahoma roots, naming his dog operation Simon Creek Kennels. Nick made many friends in the coonhunting community in Georgia, where he met one of his closest friends, Zaheed Hussain and family.
Nick’s greatest achievement was becoming a father to his three children, and his greatest joy in life was being with them. While he enjoyed many sports, none were more important than the ones his children were participating in. He shared a special bond with his first born, Maegan Joy, an unconditional love that no distance or circumstance could ever break. He was Carter’s biggest supporter and loved traveling to football camps and games together. His baby, Christian had Nick wrapped around her finger and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
An avid OU fan throughout life, he enjoyed traveling to away football games to meet up with Mom and Dad to watch the Sooners take on Tennessee and Alabama in recent years, and especially liked coming to Norman to tailgate with little brother Luke and Huynh.
Nicholas was well known for his skills in the kitchen. He was so proud to replicate Mom or Grandma’s recipes and would often cook for the fire station and loved sharing his creations with family and friends through social media. He loved visits from his favorite sister as they were sure to spend many hours in the kitchen, together. His desire to host and provide for others was foundational to the deep relationships he formed. He loved being able to come home for family gatherings to see everyone and enjoy the bounty of food found at Grandma’s, then later in life at Mumzi and Do Dad’s.
Nick spent the last 12 years serving his community as a firefighter and EMT and took that commitment and brotherhood very seriously. He was known around the station for his big hugs after a tough call, and for mentoring young firefighters on the importance of safety and dealing with family and life in general. His selflessness and dedication to giving back led him to become a member of the Masonic Lodge. Nick would often give and do for others quietly. We believe a wonderful way to honor his life would be for each of you to pay something forward this week, in his name.
The third of the Hayes children, Nick formed an unbreakable bond with his sister and brothers. He was fiercely protective and loyal and always quick to offer advice and support or go on adventures with Chris, Kasie or Luke. He was the favorite uncle to his beloved nieces and nephews who knew that a trip to see Uncle Nick would be full of fun, big cookouts, and belly laughs. In 2007, Nick was spending the day fishing with Chris in Georgia when he suddenly and tragically passed. That experience weighed heavily on Nick, but our family finds peace knowing that Chris and Nick are together again. Through life’s ups and downs, the Hayes family never turned their backs or gave up on one another
Nicholas was preceded in death by a brother, Christopher James Hayes; grandparents Junior and Ruth Hayes and Melvin and Meady Mae Vernon; aunt, Connie King; uncle, Dean Vernon and cousins, Cody Ponder and Bradley King.
He is survived by his loving parents, James and Debbie Hayes of Ardmore, Oklahoma; children, Maegan Joy Hayes, Carter Ryan Hayes and Christian Elizabeth Hayes; brother, Lucas Hayes and spouse Huynh Le; sister, Kasie King and husband Scott; nieces and nephews, Karson Green and wife Bre’Anna, Kaden Green, Kahner Green, Kreighton King, Davis Hayes, Daelyn Lair, Bailey King and Conner Scott King; aunts and uncles, David and Lois Vernon, Dale and Judy Vernon, Dennis and Kathryn Vernon, Danell and Danny Bray, Denise and Billy Voyles, Mark Hayes, Clifford King, Jeanne Vernon, and a large circle of extended family and friends.
A Memorial Service will be held at 3:00 pm Saturday, July 31, 2021 at the River of Life Pentecostal Church, 938 Redwood Street, Wilson, OK 73463 with Jason Williams, Captain David Carter, Jim Duck and Nathan Gauwitz officiating.
Remembrances and condolences may be left for the family at www.laurelfuneralhome.com.
Arrangements and services are under the direction of John David and Laura Black Griffin and Laurel Funeral Home, 665 Fifth Street, Healdton, Oklahoma (580) 229-1221.
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