J. Hayes Metzger

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Col. J. Hayes Metzger (retired) died on Tuesday, April 8, 2014 in Concord, N.H.

He was born in Wilmington, Ohio in 1924. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, the Honorable Katie Metzger (State Representative 1990-1999); five children, John Metzger of Reston, Va., Anne Horey and husband Marc of West Bath, Maine, Beth Thompson and husband Michael of Tucson, Ariz., the Rev. Curtis Metzger and partner Doug of Boscawen, N.H., and Katherine Groves and husband Steve of Hawi, Hawaii; and nine grandchildren in whom he took special interest and pride.

He and Katie retired in Fitzwilliam, N.H. in 1976. In retirement, he was active in a variety of organizations. He served as Water Commissioner in Fitzwilliam for many years, the School Budget Committee, the American Legion, the VFW, the Disabled Veterans of America, and the Peterborough Fly Fishing Club.

He also sang in some organizations for most of his life, including the Symphonic Choir at Ohio State, the West Point Chapel Choir, the West Point Glee Club, the University Glee Club of NY City, Anchorage Community Chorus, the Keene Barbershop Chorus, the Keene Community Chorale, the Fitzwilliam Community Church Choir and many other church choirs throughout his life.

He graduated from Wilmington High School in Ohio in 1942. He was co-captain of the football team, and active in band and chorus. In high school, he was elected Secretary of State of the American Legion-sponsored Ohio Buckeye Boys State, 1941. He also lettered in baseball and basketball.

He was very active in the Boy Scouts, attaining the rank of Eagle Scout. He was the waterfront director of Tecumseh Council Scout Camp in 1942, and played in the Region 4 Boy Scout Band made up of Scouts from Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky. The band played at the 1939 World's Fair in New York, giving concerts daily for two weeks. He was also a paperboy for the Wilmington News Journal.

He attended Ohio Wesleyan one year (1942). He also spent six months at Ohio State where he lettered in baseball. He enlisted in the Army in December 1942. He received an appointment to West Point from the Army and graduated in 1949. At West Point, he lettered in baseball and also monogrammed in football (1946 and 1947, national champion football teams). In the 1949 West Point yearbook it was noted that "Hayes' easy-going nature and his affable disposition have fostered friendship in all who know him. He is one of those rare fellows who always has a song on his lips and whose presence is a welcomed influence in any group. On the athletic fields, he was consistently outstanding. His success will be rightfully measurable only in the contributions he makes to the happiness of others."

Just after graduation, he was married to Katie Hunnicutt, also from Wilmington, at her grandmother's house in Lebanon, Ohio, and began a wonderful 64-year marriage. As it said on a plaque on their porch, "Here lives a fisherman with the best catch of his life!"

His military career spanned three wars: World War II, Korea and Vietnam. In Korea in 1952, his battalion commander noted in a report that "Lt. Metzger is a man of fearless calm in active combat." His military honors included: the Purple Heart (living with bullet shrapnel in his shoulder they could not get out), the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, the Air Medal, the Croix de Guerre (government of France), the Gallantry Cross (government of Vietnam), the Honor Medal (government of Vietnam), the Legion of Merit (two), the Meritorious Service Medal (two), six other campaign and service medals, the Master Parachutist Badge, and, as any infantryman knows, he was especially proud of his Combat Infantry Badge (two wars). While in the army, he earned an MBA and an M. Ed.

A memorial service was held in the Fitzwilliam Community Church on Saturday, April 12, the Rev. Curtis Metzger presiding. A service of interment will be held in the Sugar Grove Cemetery in Wilmington, Ohio at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Fitzwilliam Fire Rescue and EMS Association, in care of Gail Thomas, treasurer, Fitzwilliam, NH 03447.

Published in News Journal from Apr. 11 to Apr. 12, 2014
bullet Bronze Star bullet Purple Heart bullet U.S. Army bullet VFW