Jean Katherine Hays

July 23, 1922September 2, 2018
Obituary of Jean Katherine Hays
Jean Katherine Hays, a longtime resident of Abilene, passed away September 2, 2018 at Hendrick Hospice Center. Jean had been in declining health during the past year which diminished her active life in cultural and community affairs. Jean was born on July 23, 1922, in Kingston, New York. Her father, Alexander E. Cahill, was a conductor on the New York Central Railroad and her mother, Frances K. Cahill, was a homemaker. Jean was the second oldest of seven children and, as such, she played a major role in bringing up "the little ones" as she later portrayed her younger sisters and brothers, some of whom became eternally grateful. During her high school years Jean worked as a sales clerk at JC Penney and after graduating from Kingston High in 1941 she was employed as a "number please" telephone operator by the New York Telephone Company. With the onset of World War II there was a need for transferring young operators to areas of defense buildup. As a result, Jean was assigned as an operator in Norfolk Virginia. There she met a young naval lieutenant from West Texas by the name of James L. "Curly" Hays and she became his wife. After the war Curly returned to Abilene and brought Jean back with him. Jean fell in love with Abilene and remarked how friendly the people were often introducing themselves and offering a warm welcome. While Curly was involved with public relations activities at West Texas Utilities and officiating duties in a variety of sports, Jean had a successful career with Southwestern Bell Telephone Company as one of the first line female supervisors in the organization. Jean's impact as a mentor and contributor to the Abilene Community was immeasurable. She was involved in the Community Foundation, Alliance for Women and Children, Abilene Philharmonic, Cancer Services Network, Las Aficionados-Auxiliary of the Grace Museum, St. Vincent De Paul, and The Center of Contemporary Arts and other organizations. Her charity and generosity supporting the community affected many. Jean was a devoted and active member of Holy Family Catholic Church. Among her many interests were traveling all over the world and her sense of style. She was preceded in death by her husband, James L. "Curly" Hays; brothers, Edwin and Dan; sisters, Patricia and Rosemary. Jean is survived by her brothers, Bob, in Lewes, Delaware and Frank who resides in Austin. In addition, Jean has over 20 nieces and nephews, especially, her loving niece, Beth Weishaupt, who visited her frequently, along with Beth's daughters, Caitlin Sanzi, Alexandra DeForest, and Caroline Weishaupt. Her nieces and nephews are spread across the U.S. and Europe. We wish to acknowledge the friendship and love Jean received from Marilyn Smith and Marianne Fincher. Dr. Toby Williams and his nurses, plus, Visiting Angels, especially, Janice and Toni, provided great care to Jean. Memorials may be made in Jean's honor to the Community Foundation of Abilene, P.O. Box 1001, Abilene, Texas, 79604-1001; or to the donor's favorite charity. The family will receive friends from 6:00pm to 8:00pm on Wednesday, September 5, 2018, at Elliott-Hamil Funeral Home, 5701 Highway 277 S, with a rosary starting at 7:45pm. Jean's life will be celebrated at the Mass of the Resurrection at 10:00am on Thursday, September 6, 2018 at Holy Family Catholic Church with Reverend Msgr. Frederick Nawarskas officiating. Burial will follow in Elmwood Memorial Park. Following there will be a fellowship reunion for all those to rejoice in the lives who have made this earth a better place to live at Holy Family Catholic Church. You may view and sign the guestbook at

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Past Services

Wednesday, September 05, 2018


Wednesday, September 05, 2018


Thursday, September 06, 2018

Funeral Mass