Jess Hays

  • "My son, my son---my dear son Jess. the love,respect and joy..."
  • "Jess and Debbie both mean so much to me. He will be sorely..."
    - Rayla Williams
  • "Jess was a great fraternity brother. I knew him for far to..."
  • "I read about Jess's passing in the Beacon Journal, And that..."
    - Mary Dick
  • "Life is best lived with heaping doses of courage, dignity..."

The Navajo medicine man said that "people who get pancreatic cancer have a sweet soul." Such was the case with Jess William Hays. A man with a profoundly strong vital life force, and a heart as big as the mountains, he battled this disease for over 19 months. But like any good gambler, he "knew when to hold 'em, and when to fold 'em," and finally surrendered on March 24. Jess was born in Uniontown, PA, and thus was a lifelong Steelers fan. He graduated from The University of Akron and Bowling Green State University in Ohio, and devoted his career to teaching marketing and helping thousands of students achieve success in college. Jess was a member of the Association of Deans and Directors and NACADA. He held several positions at U of A, including Assistant Dean of University College. Jess retired from The University of Akron in 2007 as Director Emeritus of the Academic Advisement Center. After retirement, Jess and Debbie moved to Deming, NM, where he had five good years doing the things he loved most, fishing, hunting, hiking and archeology. He loved New Mexico and the friends he made in their new home. Jess was preceded in death by his son, Jess Nicolas, and his younger brother, Joseph. He leaves his beloved wife, Deborah Gwin of Deming, NM, his daughter Carolyn Hays of North Royalton, Ohio, his parents, Jess and Irene Hays of Uniontown, PA, and brothers Jack and Jim, also of Uniontown. Jess also leaves three grandchildren, Jess Robert Hays, and Chase and Chloe Normant, as well as several nieces and nephews. He will be dearly missed by his Theta Chi brothers, his Canada fishing buddies, his Akron colleagues, and so many dear friends all across the country. Our gratitude to Dr. Bruce Greenfield and the incredible nursing staff at Memorial Cancer Center of Las Cruces for their role in this fight. Gratitude also to the Cancer Support Center of Deming. Cremation has taken place, and Jess has requested that his ashes be scattered in his favorite fishing spots in the Pennsylvania mountain's. At his request, there will be no service or flowers, but please feel free to listen to Garth Brooks sing "The Dance," and raise a drink in Jess' honor. Memorial donations may be made to the Pancreatic Action Network for research at or to Cancer Support of Deming & Luna County, Inc., P.O. Box 1746, Deming, NM 88031. Entrusted to the care of Baca's Funeral Chapels and Mimbres Crematory. To sign the online guest book or to send a card, please visit our website at S. Gold Ave., Deming, NM 88030. Phone: 575.546.9671
Funeral Home
Bacas Funeral Chapel - Deming
811 South Gold Avenue Deming, NM 88030
(505) 546-9671
Funeral Home Details
Published in Deming Headlight on Mar. 27, 2014