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Robert Denecke Hays

1923 - 2015 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Robert Denecke Hays Obituary
1923 - 2015
Robert Denecke Hays, 92, native of Boise, Idaho passed away peacefully at his home in Eagle, Idaho June 22, 2015 surrounded by family and friends. Bob graduated from Boise High in 1940 and Boise Junior College in 1942. During his years at Boise High and BJC, he led a popular dance band well-known in the Boise area. At the request of BJC President Chaffee, Bob organized and led BJC's first pep band. He was also a member of the Boise Municipal Band and the Idaho National Guard 116th Cavalry Band. His talent and love of music was to guide his path throughout the rest of his life.
In the fall of 1942, Bob enlisted in the Army Reserve and enrolled at the University of Oregon to study architecture. In the spring of 1943, he was called into active duty to serve in World War II and was assigned to the Signal Corp (Radio School) at Fort Monmouth, NJ and Radar Maintenance School at Camp Murphy, FL. In 1944 on a "delay in route", Bob married Patricia McCoy, featured vocalist of the dance band in which he served as arranger and lead trombonist while at the U of O. Expecting to be sent to the European Theatre, Bob received a change of orders and was sent to the Pacific Theatre as a radar repairman, 168th AAA, Headquarters Battery at Tacloban, Leyte, Philippine Islands. In July of 1945, he was sent to Manila, Luzon, PI where he served as arranger for the AAA Headquarters Band.
Honorably discharged from the Army in January, 1946, Bob resumed studies at Oregon completing his B.S. and M.S. in Psychology. In 1949, Bob and Pat moved to New York where he entered Colombia University Teachers College to pursue a PhD in Psychology of Music. Fall of 1952, he accepted a position as Music Director of the Flomaton, AL public schools until 1954 when he was offered a position as Associate Band Director at what is now known as the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, MS. He also joined the USAR as Assistant Director of the 313th Army Band in MS.
In 1957, Bob became Director of Bands at USM. Arranging the music and designing the shows, his bands were invited to perform at numerous college and professional football games with repeat performances at many. "Hey Daze", an original musical comedy about college life written and orchestrated by Bob, included a tune titled "Southern to the Top" which became the official fight song for USM and remains so to this day.
On sabbatical in 1961 from USM, Bob enrolled at Indiana University to resume studies toward a doctorate degree, and, in 1967, having studied composition with Bernhard Heiden, received his Doctor of Music from IU with a major in Music Composition. His dissertation, "Symphony for Orchestra 1965" in four movements, was later performed by the New Orleans Philharmonic Orchestra.
Returning to USM, Bob became Coordinator of Theory and Composition. He was instrumental in establishing the first graduate music program for the USM School of Fine Arts. Always looking toward the future, he worked with Robert Moog in New York on the Moog synthesizer, and then returned to USM to create the first university electronic music studio in the south, utilizing the Moog synthesizer. Later that year, he wrote, among others, an orchestra plus synthesizer composition, "Oracle of Apollo I" to commemorate the flight of NASA's Apollo I. During his years at USM, Bob served as musical director for many theatrical productions, was credited with more than 500 arrangements for the Pride Of Mississippi Marching Band, composed a series of published works for strings, brass, woodwinds, and percussion, and wrote many arrangements and original works for jazz groups.
In 1968, Wally Heider, well-known recording engineer, recruited Bob to establish an electronic studio at his Heider Studios in San Francisco. In 1970, Bob married Sylvia Boles Teasley, and the family moved to Los Angeles where he continued at Heider's Audio Producers Studio as writer/producer of jingles for the BBC, Penney's, and radio Ids for San Diego, Cincinnati, Santa Barbara, and others.
Returning to teaching in 1972, Bob and the family moved to Mount Pleasant, MI where he accepted a position as Professor of Music at Central Michigan University to teach Composition, 20th Century Music, Jazz Studies and to establish the Electronic Studio. He also formed a student jazz band, Studio Twelve, which performed jazz standards, plus original jazz compositions written by members of the band and Bob.
Retiring from CMU in 1989, Bob began to enjoy golf. He and Sylvia purchased a sailboat, naming it "About Time", and they enjoyed many years of sailing in Lake Michigan and on Payette Lake in McCall, ID. Following her retirement, they enjoyed traveling around the US, and in 1997, moved to Eagle, ID to be close to the historical Hays family cabin on Payette Lake. Bob continued to compose and began to paint as well, painting over 150 paintings from 1998 until the present.
An accomplished musician who played piano, all brasses and woodwinds, Bob was a man of many talents and always insisted "Anyone could do the same if they were only willing to work at it". He was known for his quiet unassuming way, warm smile, gentleness, wit, a wealth of knowledge, and as an amazing husband, father, teacher, musician, and artist. His students considered "Doc Hays" as "cool".
Bob is survived by his wife of 45 years, Sylvia; daughters, Elizabeth Ann Hays, Kimberley Ann Strong (Kirk); sons, Frank David Teasley (Stacey), Kevin Douglas Teasley (Dana); grandchildren, Kathryn Fuentes (JJ), Alana Ledford, Taylor Strong, Audrey, William, and Hays Teasley, Jordan, Jarrett, and Blake Johnson; and great-grandchild, Talon Sims; a sister, Helen Ann Farmer (Jim); and many loving nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father and mother, Colonel Samuel D. Hays and Gertrude D. Hays, and brothers, S. H. and W. D. Hays.
A family "Celebration of a Life Well-Lived" will be held at the Hays cabin later this summer. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to a , or a contribution to an established scholarship in Bob's name. Please make check payable to: Central Michigan University (indicating at the bottom of the check for: "Robert D. Hays Jazz Endowment") and mail to CMU, % Dave Bunting, Carlin Alumni House, 524 E. Bellows, Mt. Pleasant, MI 48858 (1-800-358-6903).
Published in Idaho Statesman on July 8, 2015
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