Charles “Chuck” Hayes, 54, of Okinawa, Japan

Charles Clayton Hayes, age 54 passed away at his home on April 1, 2017 with his family and friends by his side. He was born on March 29, 1963 in Oakland, Nebraska to Donald and Ilene (Larsen) Hayes. He graduated from Lyons High School in 1981.
Chuck had a very successful high school career. He was an excellent student and athlete. Chuck loved all sports and if a ball was involved he picked it up quickly. There were many football, basketball, and baseball games played in the backyard at the Hayes’ house. His love was playing basketball. Chuck was a great competitor and worked for hours to improve his BB skills. As a sophomore he was an integral member of the 1979 Lyons State Championship team. He continued to improve the next two years of high school and had college coaches recruiting him.
Upon graduating high school Charles accepted a basketball scholarship from Hastings College. Charles epitomized the student/athlete while at Hastings College. He enjoyed the challenges that college offered. College challenged his mind and basketball challenged his body. He loved both of them.

After graduating from Hastings College with a math degree Chuck decided to see the world. The way he chose to do this was to take a job with the Peace Corps. He spent 4 years in Africa in the Gambia and Togo. The Peace Corps will tell you it is the toughest job you will ever love. This was true for Chuck. He came back from Africa with a new sense of purpose and the Peace Corps remained close to his heart for the rest of his life. When Chuck returned from Africa he went back to college. He earned a masters degree from Ohio University in African Studies. Chuck’s travels then took him to Houston, TX where he taught math to inner-city at-risk high school students at Jefferson Davis High School. He also coached football and basketball while there. He then traveled to Washington D.C. where he found work. Then he was off to the University of Richmond where he achieved a masters in Sports Management. Chuck then traveled to Miami where he worked for the Miami Heat coached by Pat Riley. He worked side by side with Eric Spoelstra, the current Heat coach, editing game film and preparing scouting reports. Charles then came back to Nebraska and took a job at Commercial Federal Bank in Omaha. The Peace Corps came calling again and he was off to the Kingdom of Tonga. After his time in Tonga he came back to Lyons and worked for the Center of Rural Affairs in Lyons. The travel bug came calling again and he was off to Casablanca, Morocco where he worked for the United Seaman’s Service. He then moved to Diego Garcia where he stayed for 8 years working for the United Seaman’s service and then moving into a role as an Operations Director on the island. After some time off, which he spent with his parents in Lyons, he went back to the Seaman’s Service and was working in Naha, Okinawa and Busan, South Korea.

Charles was preceded in death by his father, Don Hayes, his brothers; Bradley and Kevin, and his nephew, Timothy Bradley.

Charles is survived by his mother Ilene; his brothers Jeffrey (Anne) of Albion, NE, Timothy (Rebecca) of Centennial, CO.
Additional survivors include aunt, Darlene Lund of St. George, UT, uncle, Bill Hines of Covina, CA, aunt, Frelon Danielson of Oakland, NE and nieces and nephews.

Private family services will be held.

Cemetery Details


Westside Cemetery

Oakland, Nebraska 68045

Memorials suggested to the family for future designation.


Chuck Hayes

About katcountryhub
I am a graduate of Northeast Community College with a degree in journalism. I am married to Jeff Gilliland. We have two grown children, Justin and Whitney and four grandchildren, Grayce, Grayhm, Charli and Penelope. I will be covering Lyons, Decatur, Bancroft and Rosalie and am hoping to expand my horizons as time progresses!

2 Responses to Charles “Chuck” Hayes, 54, of Okinawa, Japan

  1. S Francis says:

    From Singapore, I offer my deepest condolences to the Hayes family. Charles was a great man who did great work for United States Sailors all around the world. He will be missed.

  2. Jay Luciani says:

    Charles was my very good friend… we worked together for many years here on Diego Garcia, and corresponded frequently (he never missed responding to and answering my e-mails)… several years ago, when I took an assignment in Africa (Djibouti), Charles was instrumental in providing much guidance and advice, and we enjoyed our conversations about the continent… I always found his sage advice very comforting and illuminating… Charles was an intelligent man, and taught me to open my eyes and look a little more deeply into the true nature of things (never taking things for what they appear on the surface)… when I heard of Charles’ untimely demise, I was literally shocked, and could not accept the news, and prayed that he would fully recover, but it was not to be… although I do not fully understand the details, I still cannot believe what happened because it does not seem real to me… I do not think that Charles would accept my saying that he is in a better place, but my heart hopes that he finds peace and comfort, for life is eternal… Charles… I will certainly miss you, our many conversations, and the suggested readings by noted authors and scholars which always challenged my thinking and made me feel good about life, and that there was still some hope… and thank you for your personal support and friendship while we worked together for those many years… good friends are few and far between, and the loss of one affects my soul in a manner that I cannot describe… you will be sorely missed my friend… for as the poet John Donne said,

    “Any man’s death diminishes me,
    Because I am involved in mankind,
    And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
    It tolls for thee.”
    [No Man Is An Island]

    your friend always,
    Jay Luciani

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