Cover photo for Beverly Hays's Obituary
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1935 Beverly 2024

Beverly Hays

May 2, 1935 — March 11, 2024

Beverly Riley Hays, born May 2, 1935, on a farm outside of Elberton, Georgia, peacefully passed away in her sleep on the morning of March 11, 2024 at the home she had built, well tended, and loved for 50 years in Cleveland, Tennessee. Her beloved husband, Danny Hays, was by her side, as he had been daily during their 69 years of unshakable marriage.

An extraordinarily dedicated mother and wife, Beverly leaves behind a legacy of warmth and kindness to family and friends that will be forever treasured. She was comforting, kind, forgiving, non-judgmental, and unconditional. She listened with intent, always had wise words, and was never selfish. She enjoyed people, had a great sense of humor, and loved to laugh. She loved rainy days as well as the sunshine, and she understood the importance of a smile and always "doing the right thing."

She did not like glory or the spotlight but loved it worn well on others. Famous for never missing a chance to recognize someone's birthday, she never drew attention to herself and was eager to celebrate others to make them feel special, honored, and loved.

Her greatest passion and source of joy was her family. A deeply spiritual woman, she followed the example of her mother and began each day with a prayer for her family and ended the day the same way. She viewed life as the true blessing it is and often reminded those of us tied up in the rush and frustration of everyday life that "we are truly blessed."

Known as "Bev Lann" by her siblings, she was raised in the depression era and the hardships of WWII and its aftermath. She learned early and never forgot the importance of hard work, persistence, and an unyielding commitment to all tasks undertaken. She often said, "If something is worth doing, it's worth doing right." Straight out of high school where she learned to be a typist, she moved to Atlanta to use those skills working as a secretary in order to send money back home to help her family. In Atlanta, she met the love of her life Danny, who was immediately swept away. As newlyweds, they moved to Memphis where she supported him through medical school as they started their family.

The young family then moved back to East Tennessee, to Athens, where Danny had been the first in his family to attend college, working while in school in the small hospital that had inspired the seemingly impossible idea to one day become a physician. That dream eventually became a reality, but only with the love and support of Beverly who worked to support the family and help pay for medical school while at the same time caring for three children by the time she was 24 years of age.

Beverly was also a devoted Sunday School teacher at Trinity Methodist Church in Athens and a dedicated Cub Scout Leader. She and the family would eventually move up the road to Cleveland, Tennessee where they lived a wonderful life and made many friends for the past 50 years. She was energetically and proudly self-employed for many years in connection with a clothing line that she enjoyed and wanted to share with others.

Kind, always considerate of others, she was unmistakably the strong overseer and passionate motivator for her children in school and beyond, and the loving matriarch of the entire extended family.

Beverly is preceded in death by her parents James Lee Riley and Irene Jones Riley, and her beautiful sisters Becky Bouchillon and Connie Long. She is survived by her husband (Danny), her brother Jimmy Riley (Dottie), her children Robert Hays (Jennifer), Rhonda Brandon (Doug), and Richard Hays, as well as grandchildren: Hays Estes (Houston), Alex Guisinger (Matt), Bailey Brandon (Julie), Kathryn Hays, Ben Hays, Robert Hays III (Emma Kate), Sallie Martinez (Andy), and Richard Hays; and also survived by five great-grandchildren, as well as loving nieces and nephews and cousins.

The family wishes to extend deep thanks to the loving support of many extraordinary friends in Cleveland and elsewhere, to the church, and to the dedicated caregivers - Mary Payne, Saliena Sizemore, Anika Smith, Teresa Goforth, and Gail Oakes - who worked so hard each day to help her find the best life possible.

The family will receive friends on March 23, 2024, at Broad Street United Methodist Church (155 Central Ave NW, Cleveland, TN 37311) from 1:00 - 2:00 p.m., followed by a Celebration of Beverly's Life at 2:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, should friends desire, memorial contributions should be made to Broad Street United Methodist Church (www.bsumc.org), or the Alzheimer's Association (www.alz.org)

Her memory will live on in the hearts of her family and those who knew her. Beverly, Mom, Grandmom: for your life and example, we are the ones who are "truly blessed."

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