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Richard Hayden

1928 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Richard Hayden Obituary
Richard Hayden
May 7, 1928 - August 4, 2017
Richard Hayden loved to help people. Throughout his life that is what drove him in all that he accomplished.
Dick was born in Niles, Michigan on May 7, 1928. At age 18, he volunteered for the US Army, and served with 88th "Blue Devil" Infantry Division, Mediterranean Theater in WWII. Honorably discharged in 1949, he received his BA and MA degrees in Political Science and History at Chico State University where he met his wife Lea. They married and settled in Sunnyvale in 1959. He became an Instructor and Research Assistant at Stanford University while pursuing his PhD.
Lured away from his PhD studies by San Jose State University, he became an tenured Professor and then the Acting Dean, School of Education. His love of teaching and helping students blossomed and when he was asked to be Dean of the Social Science Division in the newly formed West Valley Community College District, he jumped at the chance.
In addition to his love of teaching, he began working to serve the people of Sunnyvale. As Parks and Recreation Commissioner, then City Councilman and eventually Mayor of Sunnyvale he oversaw the growing community. By 1970, he realized he could help more people by serving as a State Assemblyman for the 22nd District. As Assemblyman he earned the nickname "Sterling" because of his honesty and uncompromising ethics. He was elected for 5 terms, and had the privilege of serving on the Assembly Committees of Judiciary, Health, Elections & Reapportionment, Ways & Means, and Finance & Insurance, among others. But he delighted most in helping individual people with their problems. Dick helped a group of local school children name the Desert Tortoise the State Reptile in 1972. The next year he authored a bill that allowed the West Valley Community College District to purchase land for a second campus. The bill was signed by Governor Reagan and Mission College was born.
Richard was a former member of the Commonwealth Club of California, Rotary, Lions, Stanford University Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa, and the Board of Governors of Santa Clara County Goodwill Industries. He was also a "Man of the Year and Distinguished Service Award" winner of the Junior Chamber of Commerce, Freedoms Foundation Award winner, Alpha Gamma Sigma Scholastic Society Award winner, Red Cross board Chairman and Boy Scout Counselor. For the past 69 years he was a member of the American Legion, and served as a Post Commander in Chico.
After serving 10 years in the Assembly, he returned to his first love of teaching where he shared his governmental experience and learned from students with many different backgrounds. His door was always open for advice and he wrote countless recommendation letters for many of his students. When the time came to retire yet again, Mission College called on him to become Interim President. Working tirelessly, he talked to students and asked them to call him personally with any problems. In 1991, he retired but continued to teach classes in American Government and California History.
He officially retired in 2015 after touching many thousands of lives with his generosity and kindness. He continued to pursue his lifelong passion of gardening.
Richard suddenly and unexpectedly passed away on Aug. 4th 2017. He is survived by his loving wife of 64 years Lea, his son Greg and his wife Anna, his daughter Julie Hayden and her children, Christian and Sean Hayden.
In keeping with Richard's wishes, there will be no service. Tributes may be left at: http://www.lastingmemories.com/richard-d-hayden Memorial donations may be made to The American Legion Department of California, PO Box 421820 San Francisco CA 94142-1820

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Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Aug. 13, 2017
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