Donald Frank Hays

March 29, 1929January 7, 2019
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DONALD FRANK HAYS, age 89, of Waterford, former longtime resident of Rochester, died January 7, 2019 at his residence. Donald was born on March 29, 1929 in Portland Oregon, son of the late Hans and Grace (Waddle) Hays. He earned a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Oregon State University in 1952. In 1983 Donald was bestowed the Mayo D. Hersey award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in recognition of his long term contributions in science and engineering. He retired from General Motors in 1989 as the department head of Research Engineering. Donald was inducted into the Hall of Fame at Oregon State University College of Engineering in 1999. He also served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Donald, along with his wife Alice, were charter members of the University Presbyterian Church. Donald is survived by his wife Alice; children Audrey (Steve) Moshluk, Kenneth (Sally) Hays and Linda (Timothy) Woolard; grandchildren Pamela (Eric) Dilno, Mike Chiaravalli, Nicole Chiaravalli, Andrew Woolard and Tom Hays; great grandchildren Sophia and Landon Dilno. Funeral services will be held 11 a.m. Monday, January 14, 2019, at University Presbyterian Church, 1385 S. Adams Road, Rochester Hills. Rev. Bob Sheldon officiating. The family will receive friends Monday from 10 to 11 a.m. at the church and Sunday, January 13, from 2 to 5 pm at the Pixley Funeral Home, 322 W. University Drive, Rochester. Interment at Van Hoosen Jones-Stoney Creek Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the University Presbyterian Church Organ Fund.


  • Alice Hays, Wife
  • Audrey (Steve) Moshluk, Daughter
  • Kenneth (Sally) Hays, Son
  • Linda (Timothy) Woolard, Daughter
  • Pamela (Eric) Dilno, Granddaughter
  • Mike Chiaravalli, Grandson
  • Nicole Chiaravalli, Granddaughter
  • Andrew Woolard, Grandson
  • Tom Hays, Grandson
  • Sophia Dilno, Great Granddaughter
  • Landon Dilno, Great Grandson
  • Hans Hays, Father
  • Grace (nee Waddle) Hays, Mother


  • Funeral Service Monday, January 14, 2019
  • Visitation Monday, January 14, 2019
  • Visitation Sunday, January 13, 2019

Donald Frank Hays

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Connie Miller

January 14, 2019

(part 2 continued)
and diverse interests could have provided many different careers even though he was considerably respected in the field of tribology as I discovered in my job in a Canadian science library where a student requested several of Don's academic papers and I saw that Science Citation Index recorded hundreds of times Don's papers were cited by other authors giving Don credit in their own papers. I am only giving Don a quick tip of the iceberg memory. He had a big and beautiful impact on all of us with frequent memories to recall on so many aspects of his life.

Connie Miller

January 14, 2019

I have been miserable fretting about not attending Don's funeral. Memories of him and things he has done have been a tremendous inspiration and source of pride for me and for all of my children.
Before I knew he had died I was still actively recalling things and using them to illustrate knowledge and principles to other people I know. I am profoundly sad that I didn't have a lot more opportunities to get to know him and my other relatives much better. Sometimes I am sure that my memories are embellished to the point of legends by my admiration at the same time that my memories are deficient by all the good things that I have totally missed.
A few of the things that I remember, and I hope I am not too wrong, are the conversations about the peppermint farms in Oregon and the making of peppermint oil, the cheeses and raspberries in Oregon, his experience as a gymnast with rings and parallel bars, his canoeing, his love of mathematics, seeing his name in the World Almanac as the year's most outstanding mechanical engineer, his evaluation of accessories on GM vehicles and hence getting new fully equipped cars for that effort, his collection of Japanese artifacts from his stay there, his study of the history of religion to make sense of it and to present his findings to the congregation and write up a report which is still in my file as a base (he introduced me to the books of John Spong), his fantastic accomplishments as a woodworker with his fantastic wood working shop in his basement, his beautiful harp, spoons, and native flutes, his tremendous accomplishments with The Olde Michigan Ruffwater String Band, organizing it and playing spoons, recorder and baritone horn (it was all such an enjoyable part of Audrey's wedding and so nice for me playing the recordings), his studies and travels in pursuit of native flute knowledge resulting in the hauntingly beautiful tones from his own beautiful flutes he made and played, his natural curiosity (continued)

Sharon Robinson

January 12, 2019

While I mourn the loss of Don's presence in my life, I both honor and celebrate the wealth of memories during our years of friendship. We shared many a mile on life's road - on our way to band practices, getaways, concerts, and dances. Our conversations ran the gamut from seriously silly to those seriously heartfelt - a vast range of topics and emotions. He and Alice were always kind to include me in their van on our way to our long Lovett Hall Sundays. As we returned home, Don would unfailingly bid me, "Yes, young lady - you go straight home now". I would laugh, kiss him on the cheek, and tell him he was a spoil sport - I had so wanted to stop on the way. The last few years were not kind to Don, healthwise. But his spirits, when he saw old friends, would be lifted and he was once again his chipper old self. How I will miss him, and bid him -"Yes, dear friend. You go straight home now."

Judi Morningstar

January 11, 2019

Don will be forever missed by his musical family and all those he touched with his talents. He was a beautiful soul who played several instruments. His woodworking talents led to building many lovely instruments including hammered & mountain dulcimer, harps and native flutes to name a few. He was also a composer whose compositions we play often. Our band, the Olde Michigan RUFFWATER STRINGBAND, of which Don was a member, recorded his memorable, “Evening Shadows” on their second album, “Michigan Spring.”

His sense of humor should not go unmentioned as he played many roles while performing with the band. He was known as “Mister Spoons” taking flatware to new heights, leading workshops, too. He was known as “The Manager of the Hall” at the special events dances at Lovett Hall in Greenfield Village where Ruffwater performed regularly for 23 years. He would read the etiquette of the day from the Good Morning Book by Henry & Clara Ford. His delivery was impeccable and the dancers cheered him on as he read the ‘rules’ of the hall.

He was also known as Vladimir in a more darker version as he announced tune selections during performances of the LDATS, a dulcimer group which included both Don & Alice who performed ‘incognito’. Don would introduce the ‘ladies’ of the group and announce the numbers they would be playing, all while dressed in a black overcoat, black sunglasses, holding a 3” cigarette holder in his black gloved fingers. Yes, he had a sense of humor.

These are a just a few of the warm memories I have of Don (I called him “Donnie”). He will be greatly missed.

Our heartfelt sympathies to Alice & Audrey, Linda & Ken.

Dawn Mastervich

January 9, 2019

One day we were walking down the hall and there was a service dog; I asked him why he never got a service dog for the blind to help lead him around he said “because he had me” we got a great laugh out of that!
I will always miss & love his humor!
Rest In Peace & play your flute in the greatest band in the heavens.
Love Dawn “Don caregiver”