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HAYES, John Dr. John Haralson Hayes, PhD, Professor Emeritus at Emory University, was born Tuesday,February 6, 1934 in Abanda, Alabama to Mattie and Will Hayes. John had five brothers, Gene, Pfifer, James, Jack, and Roy and one sister, Frances. After graduating from Five Points High School in 1952, John earned a BA from Samford University in 1956 before earning his BD and PhD degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1960 and 1964, respectively. He also studied at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland on a Fulbright Scholarship. Throughout his distinguished career as a Professor at Emory University's Candler School of Theology, John contributed significantly to the study of the Old Testament, and his publications, which include such works as Biblical Exegesis, Amos, the Eighth Century Prophet, and Dictionary of Biblical Interpretation, are internationally acclaimed and taught in universities around the world. In recent years, John added two creative and favorably reviewed works to his long list of published texts, If You Don't Like the Possum, Enjoy the Sweet Potatoes: Some Principles for Travel along the Road of Life (2010) and his recently-published semi-autobiographical novel, Abanda. Of Possum, journalist and public commentator Bill Moyers wrote, "There's more wisdom in these pages than in an airlift or convoy of fortune cookies. John's take on late-night comedians and the news is alone worth the modest price he's charging for opening our eyes and ears to some good ol' truths from the school of hard knocks." John's wisdom extended far beyond his classrooms, where he was adored by generations of students he often entertained on his Alabama farm, to his many other roles. He loved his three children, Heather, John, and Megan, with all of his heart and will be dearly missed by all of them. John also leaves a brother and sister-in-law, Gene and Freddie Hayes, cousins including Jerry W. Coggins and Karen Bledsoe, and many, many close friends around the world, whose lives he touched in his own community as well as in his travels across America, throughout Europe and the Middle East, and to Africa. John was known for his great wisdom and humor, which he was able to share with almost anyone due to his fluency innumerous languages, and he could captivate an audience of any size and makeup. John was a leader in the Five Points Baptist Church, where he frequently preached sermons, and was close to the congregation. He also had a way with children and acted as a beloved uncle figure to his friends' and relatives' kids. His fishing pond, hay barn, and petting zoo were always open. Nowhere was John's gentle nature more apparent than in his treatment of animals. Over the years, he amassed an eclectic assortment of dogs, cats, and cows, each of whom he treated with kindness and respect. Because he spent many long nights tending to his cows and fostering ailing or orphaned calves, it seems fitting that his last conscious memory involved his walking into his pasture with his birthing kit, surrounded by his docile herd, most of whom knew their names and were tame enough to ride. John's passing on July 11, 2013, after a peaceful last night spent with his loving family and friends by his side, paralleled the closing lines of his final essay: "And when on our day the sun has set, let us pray that the darkness be not long delayed, that short will be that evening journey into night. And may that night kiss us softly on the cheek, and embrace us tenderly in its keep." The world is a much better place as a result of John's too brief presence in it, and his legacy will continue through the many people and creatures whose lives he has greatly enriched. Funeral services for John Hayes will be held Sunday, July 14, 2013, at 11:00 AM EDT from the Five Points Baptist Church. Dr. Carl Holladay and Dr. Max Miller will officiate. Interment will be in the church cemetery. The family will greet friends, Saturday afternoon from 4:00 PM EDT until 6:00 PM EDT at McCarthy Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers donations are asked to be made to Chattahoochee Humane Society, 3265 Fairfax Bypass, Valley, Alabama, 36854, (334) 756-9377,, in Mr. Hayes honor. For online condolences please visit our website at Services have been entrusted to McCarthy Funeral Home, West Point, Georgia.
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on July 13, 2013
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