Virginia Hays

Waltham – Mrs. Virginia 'Ginny' (Cronin) Hays, of Waltham and Gloucester, died peacefully at Beth Israel Hospital on Saturday, October 26th after a brief illness.

Ginny was born on January 9, 1922, the beloved first daughter of Harold V. and Evelyn Cooper Cronin. She was soon joined by her younger sister, Phyllis, which completed their happy family. Sadly, her mother died when she was six years old and with that came a sadness that she carried with her all of her life. Ginny graduated from Waltham High School in 1939 and, after a post-graduate year at WHS, she matriculated at Radcliffe College. Two years later, when her sister entered Radcliffe, the family moved to Chauncy Street in Cambridge. Ginny graduated Radcliffe in 1944 and immediately joined the United States Marine Corps, serving as a corporal at Camp LeJeune in North Carolina until she was honorably discharged in May of 1946.

She returned home to Chauncy Street and obtained a Certificate of Management from Harvard Business School. After graduation, she worked at Polaroid Corporation as Personnel Director until her first child was born. An avid athlete, she was a member of the Prospect Hill Ski Club, at which she met her future husband, Walter I. Hays. The two married in 1954 and in the two years that they had before their children started to arrive, they built, with the help of family and friends, the family cottage at Wingaersheek Beach.

Over the next 10 years, in Ellison Park and on Linden Street, where she lived for 42 years, five children were born, children that Ginny called the pride of her life. It wasn't easy raising five children but she made sure that they were all active in sports, skiing at Prospect Hill in the winter and sailing and tennis in the summer, and other pursuits such as piano lessons, dancing lessons, girl scouts and more.

When Walter became sick in 1975, she ran his business, J. S. Hays Construction Company, for a year with Walter's right-hand man, John Ryan. The economy was not kind to construction companies at the time, so after a year, she sold it and took her Radcliffe degree and Harvard certificate and obtained a job at BayBank as a teller. Working hard, she was able to put all five of her children through private schools and colleges and, when Minna graduated college, she retired.

Ginny was involved with, was president of and/or worked assiduously at many organizations, including the Waltham Historical Society; the Emma Forbes Carey Guild, an organization for Catholic women at Radcliffe; the Waltham College Club; the Radcliffe Reunion Committee; Wes-Wal Investment Club; Mount Trinity/Rosary Academy Wednesday Bowling League; various beach associations as well as parent teacher organizations at her children's schools.

She also found time to be a New England Patriots season ticket holder for twenty years and was proud of having attended two Super Bowls.

Once her children were grown and gone, she became very involved in her beloved Marine Corps, becoming Commandant of the Waltham Marine Corps League and, in such role, speaking at opening ceremonies when the Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall came to Waltham. She also joined the Waltham Conservation Commission, serving for 18 years on the Commission. Ginny was also head of the Waltham Hospital Auxiliary and was on the board of the Waltham Hospital.

But her greatest joy in her later life was her five children and multitude of grandchildren. She enjoyed spending quality time with them at Wingaersheek in the summers and Chicago at Thanksgiving, and traveling with them to places like Paris, Athens, Egypt, Florida, South Carolina, Washington DC, Ohio, Seattle and Alaska.

Mum's last few years were not easy but, with the loving care of her daughters, she was able to remain in her own home until her last illness. In fact, on her last weekend before entering the hospital, she was so happy to be able to attend the 100th anniversary celebration of The Waltham Historical Society and was pleased and honored to be recognized at the event with a gift of flowers.

Ginny was much loved by her family, her family's friends and her own friends and will be sorely missed. Knowing that she's happy in heaven, seeing her mother after 85 years, reuniting with her father and husband, chatting away with Bunny Webster, Fran Anderson and Margaret O'Malley.

She is survived by her son Woody, his wife Beverly of Warren, Maine and children Jordan and Josiah and stepdaughter Jessica; her daughter, Elizabeth Noonan, her husband Tom of Waltham and children Juliette, Genevieve and TJ; her daughter Susie Hays of West Hartford, Connecticut; her daughter, Sally Hays of Waltham; and her daughter, Melinda Muto, her husband, Don and children, Patrick and Katie and stepchildren, Matthew, his wife Kitty, Stephanie, her husband Nicolay, and Timothy; her sister, Phyllis McCawley; her brothers, Jeffery and Laurence Cronin, her goddaughter Kathy McCawley and many other nieces and nephews.

Her children would like to thank the staff at Beth Israel Hospital for the good care they took of Mum in her final illness, especially Drs. Paul Bailey and Eugene Liu and her nurse Nancy. They especially want to thank Dr. Zachary Spigelman, the best doctor in the world, without whose loving care and friendship they would have lost Mum years ago and also to Maria Bombara and Susan Egnet whose compassion and care over the last year is greatly appreciated.

Family and friends will gather for calling hours in the Joyce Funeral Home 245 Main St. (Rt. 20) Waltham on Friday, November 1st from 4-8pm and again at 9:30am on Saturday, November 2nd before leaving in procession to St. Jude Church, 147 Main St. Waltham where her funeral mass will be celebrated at 10:30am. Burial will follow in Mount Feake Cemetery, Waltham.

Recognizing Ginny's love of Waltham and animals, the family asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to either The Waltham Historical Society, 190 Moody St, Waltham, MA 02453 or to The Cat Connection, P.O. Box 541435, Waltham, MA 02454. To offer condolences online, please visit

Funeral Home

Joyce Funeral Home
245 Main Street Waltham, MA 02453
(781) 894-2895

Published in Waltham News Tribune from Nov. 1 to Nov. 7, 2013