Joy S. Hays

April 4, 1930June 20, 2020

Joy Beth Stewart Hays, age 90, passed away on Saturday, June 20th surrounded by family at Lenoir Woods, where she had resided for the past four years.

Joy was born in Canton, Missouri on April 4, 1930 to parents Harry and Leila Stewart. She and her siblings attended Antioch School and Kahoka High School. Joy graduated as salutatorian of her high school class and shortly thereafter took summer classes at Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman State University). After the course work was complete, Joy passed an exam allowing her to begin a teaching career. Joy taught for three years at Sugar Creek School, a one-room school for first through eighth graders and cherished many fond memories of that experience.

On May 16, 1952, Joy married John Francis Hays in Kahoka, MO, and they spent their first two years of marriage in Alameda, California as John completed his service in the US Navy. During their married life they lived in Kahoka, MO, Columbia, MO, Fulton, MO and Independence, MO as John worked for the Missouri Department of Transportation. To this marriage were born three daughters; Tina (Jon) Van Ness, Lisa (Billy) Hays Justus, and Amy (Alex) Specht. Being a grandmother brought great enjoyment to her life, and she treasured time with her three grandchildren, Natalie Imhoff, Justin Windett, and Tyler Timson, as well as her two great-grandsons, Braeden and Bayler Imhoff. Joy’s husband, John, passed away on March 14, 2001.

In the late 1960’s Joy began taking additional college courses, eventually earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Central Missouri State University in 1971 and a Master’s Degree in Library Science the following year. Raytown School District hired her to be the librarian at Raytown Junior High, and she thoroughly enjoyed her nearly 20 year career with the school district, also serving as the head librarian at Raytown South High School and Raytown High School. Joy loved her work as a librarian, and particularly enjoyed working with faculty and students to secure valuable resources. She formed long-lasting friendships with many of her colleagues. One group of colleagues, who at different times worked with Joy and were connected to school libraries, called themselves the “Catalog Girls”. This lovely group of women met regularly over the years to share memories, celebrate birthdays and commemorate important life events.

During Joy’s life, particularly during her retirement years, she spent time supporting and caring for others. She coordinated the Stephen Ministry program at Raytown Christian Church for 18 years and was a Kansas City Hospice volunteer for 20 years. She truly enjoyed helping others and believed this was how she could best be God’s hands and feet in the world. Playing bridge, gardening, watching the KC Royals on TV, and spending time with friends, neighbors, and family were highlights for Joy in her leisure time.

Joy is survived by her three daughters, Tina (Jon) Van Ness of Columbia, MO, Lisa (Billy) Hays Justus of Lenexa, KS, and Amy (Alex) Specht of McPherson, KS, three grandchildren, Natalie (Ryan) Imhoff of Celina, TX, Justin Windett of Renton, WA, and Tyler Timson of McPherson, KS, and two great-grandchildren, Braeden Imhoff and Bayler Imhoff, three siblings, Elaine Plank of Huntsville, AL, Jack (Edith) Stewart of Hillsboro, MO, and Jewel Scott of Raytown, MO, numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

Joy Beth Stewart Hays lived out the name her parents gave her by bringing JOY to the hearts and lives of many people. We rejoice in her unwavering love and service to Jesus Christ and her reunion with her husband, John, her sisters, Wanda and Neva, her parents, and many family and friends who preceded her to heaven.

There will be a small family service at noon on Saturday, June 27, 2020 in the small chapel at Mount Moriah, Newcomer, and Freeman Funeral Home. This will be Live Streamed on Facebook at 12:00pm, Saturday.

A celebration of Joy’s life will be scheduled for a later time yet to be determined.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any memorial contributions be made to Raytown Christian Church (designated for the Stephen Ministry program) or the Salvation Army.


  • Harry Stewart, Father (deceased)
  • Lelia (Kirchner) Stewart, Mother (deceased)
  • John Francis Hays, Husband (deceased)
  • Tina Van Ness (Jon), Daughter
  • Lisa Hays Justus (Billy), Daughter
  • Amy Specht (Alex), Daughter
  • Natalie Imhoff (Ryan), Granddaughter
  • Justin Windett, Grandson
  • Tyler Timson, Grandson
  • Braeden Imhoff, Great-grandchild
  • Bayler Imhoff, Great-grandchild
  • Elaine Plank, Sister
  • Jack Stewart (Edith), Brother
  • Jewel Scott, Sister

Learn more about the Hays name


  • Private Funeral Service

    Saturday, June 27, 2020


  • Graveside Committal Service

    Saturday, June 27, 2020


Joy S. Hays

have a memory or condolence to add?

Kathleen Grace

June 27, 2020

Joy was a wonder neighbor to her 47th terr friends in KC. She was missed when she left. Sharan Ness and I want to express our sorry for your loss.
Joy was a wonderful neighbor.

Leslie Youngs

June 26, 2020

While I taught at Raytown High, I had the privilege of getting to work with Joy. She was always so helpful and cheerful. Not only did she help me, she was always so eager to explain things to my students. She was a special person. May your precious memories of her provide you peace and comfort.

Leslie Youngs

Linda Wood

June 26, 2020

It was my privilege to work with Joy as we shared together in Stephen's Ministry. She could lead you into right paths for care giving and I learned much from her. A true Christian lady who was always putting others first.


Learn more about the Hays name