Farming Rural 17
Official Obituary of

William "LeRoy" Hayes

May 12, 1938 ~ February 13, 2024 (age 85) 85 Years Old

William Hayes Obituary

William “LeRoy” Hayes, 85, of Little River, Kansas, passed away February 13, 2024, at Sandstone Heights Nursing Home, Little River. He was born May 12, 1938, in Ellsworth, Kansas, the son of William Kermit and Edith Belle (Bechtelheimer) Hayes. LeRoy has resided in Little River for the past two years, formerly of rural Geneseo, Kansas. He attended Webster and Mitchell Grade Schools and graduated from Little River High School with the class of 1956. LeRoy received his Bachelor of Science degree from McPherson College in 1960, where he met his wife, JoNelle. He served in the Army National Guard from 1961 until 1967. LeRoy was a lifelong farmer and stockman in Rice County. He was a man of faith who was a positive witness to his Christian faith in his community and church. LeRoy was a member of the First United Methodist Church, Little River, where he served in many positions. He was a board member on the Rice County Housing Authority committee while low-income housing was being built in the communities of Chase, Bushton, Geneseo, and Little River. LeRoy was gifted in memorization. He blessed many with “When the Frost is on the Pumpkin,” “Ready For Christmas,” and “The Touch of the Master’s Hand.” LeRoy was an active part of the “Lay Witness Mission Program” where he shared his witness. He was handy and built the family home, starting in 1964 and finishing in 1974. On October 28, 1961, LeRoy was united in marriage with JoNelle Alice Thoreen in Council Bluffs, Iowa. LeRoy is survived by his wife, JoNelle of Little River, KS; son, Edward Wilson Hayes and wife Terri of rural Geneseo, KS; brother, Byron Hayes and wife Anne of McPherson, KS; sister, Patricia Mais and husband Tom of Emporia, KS four grandchildren, Miranda Kay Skubal and husband Isaac of Ainsworth, IA, Alice Pearl Hayes of Kansas State University, Maggie Jo Hayes of Manhattan Christian College, and William Simeon Hayes of the home; and three great-grandchildren, John Hunter, Cole Owen and LeRoy Joseph Skubal. LeRoy is preceded in death by his parents; and brother, Delbert Hayes. Funeral service will be at 1:30 P.M. Monday, February 19, 2024, at the First United Methodist Church, Little River, with Pastor Brian Wright officiating. A private family burial will be at the Lyons Municipal Cemetery, Lyons, Kansas. Visitation will be from 3:00 until 6:00 P.M., Sunday, February 18, 2024, at the Birzer Funeral Home, Lyons, with family present. Memorials may be given to the First United Methodist Church, Little River, Rice County Historical Society or Sandstone Heights Nursing Home, Little River, in care of Birzer Funeral Home, Lyons.

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February 18, 2024

3:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Birzer Funeral Home
214 W. Ave. South
Lyons, Kansas 67554

Funeral Service
February 19, 2024

1:30 PM
United Methodist Church
405 Harrison Street
Little River, Kansas 67457


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