Will Hays  (March 25, 1932 - March 16, 2022)
Will (Estel Wilbur) Hays, Captain USN, Ret. Financial Advisor. Loving father and husband. Chairman, BOD San Diego Veterans Museum and Memorial Center. Staunch supporter of the veteran community in San Diego. Bronze Star Recipient.
It is with sadness and pride that the children of Will Hays have drafted this farewell story of our father.
Will was born to Bert and Mildred in Giltner, Nebraska (think small town farming life). After 17 years of working side-by-side with his father on the farm, Will was appointed to the Naval Academy after his high school graduation. He graduated in 1953 and married his sweetheart Norma in 1954, they were married for 63+ years. Sadly, we lost Norma 4+ years ago. She and Will had an exciting, fulfilling life together, during which they raised three children, while moving often to new duty stations.
Will started his Navy career with a deployment to the seas around Korea as the war was winding down. He also had several tours in Vietnam, earned two post- graduate degrees, taught at Staff College. He also served ground tours / commands in Washington, DC., Port Hueneme, Point Loma, and Coronado, CA.
Will retired from the Navy in 1983 and went on to a career as a Financial Advisor while living in San Diego. He also kept very busy with volunteer activities primarily around veteran advocacy and recognition. He joined Military Officers Association; the group subsequently formed the United Veterans Council. This Council spurred the creation of the Veteran's Museum and Memorial Center in Balboa Park, for which he served years as a director and as chairman on the board.
What floated Dad's boat, why his Boats' of course...
USS Menifee (APA 202) Decommissioning Officer, USS Raymond (DE 341) Senior Watch Officer, USS Topeka (CLG-8) Missile Officer, USS Hoel (DDG-13) Weapons Officer, USS Coontz (DLG-9) Executive Officer, USS Wilhoite (DER-397) Commanding Officer (CO), USS Knox ((DE-1052/FF-1052 CO, USS Wordon (CG-18) CO.
He was an avid art and coin collector, active in the Masonic community, very well-traveled, fun and funny and we will miss him dearly!
Will is survived by children Jennifer, Richard, and Sandra; by grandchildren Summer, Ryan, and Will; as well as siblings Wayne and Sheila.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Honor Flight San Diego. Our father went on his Honor Flight in 2018 and donations will help to get future veterans on their Honor Flight. Please send checks to: Honor Flight San Diego, P.O. Box 181309, Coronado, CA 92178, or donate online at: www.HonorFlightSanDiego.org. Please include "in memory of CAPT Hays" on checks and online.
Services will be scheduled for later in April. Preparations are being done through Glen Abbey Mortuary and interment will be at Miramar National Cemetery.
Published by San Diego Union-Tribune from Mar. 26 to Mar. 28, 2022.

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