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Ron Hayward

June 11, 1932 - September 11, 2015
Vicksburg, MI

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Visitations


Wednesday, September 16, 2015
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM EDT
Vicksburg United Methodist Church
217 S. Main Street
Vicksburg, MI 49097

Services


Wednesday, September 16, 2015
11:00 AM EDT
Vicksburg United Methodist Church
217 S. Main Street
Vicksburg, MI 49097

Contributions


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Vicksburg United Methodist Church
217 South Main Street
Vicksburg, MI 49097
(269) 649-2343
Driving Directions
Web Site

South County Community Services
105 S. Kalamazoo St.
Vicksburg, MI 49097
(269) 649-2901
Driving Directions

Vicksburg Historical Society
P.O. box 103
Vicksburg, MI 49097
(269) 649-1733

Vicksburg Community Foundation
c/o Life Story Funeral Homes, 409 S. Main Street
Vicksburg, MI 49097
(269) 649-1697

Flowers


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Ambati
1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Heirloom Rose
407 S. Grand St.
Schoolcraft, MI 49087
(269) 679-3010
Driving Directions
Web Site

Wedel's Nursery Florist & Garden Center
5020 Texas Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 345-1195
Driving Directions

Life Story / Obituary


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All who knew Ron Hayward would agree that his heart was as big as they come and his crystal blue eyes would express his emotions. He was a hardworking and passionate man who would do whatever he could for those around him in ways both great and small. A devoted family man, Ron treasured his roles as a husband and father, and he loved nothing more than witnessing his family tree blossom to include the seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren whom he adored. Although he was more reserved by nature, he wasn’t afraid to speak his mind at times, and since he was a man of great wisdom it was usually a good idea to listen to what he had to say. A farmer through and through, Ron loved being at home, tending to his fields more than anyplace else. He will be deeply missed, but his memory will be forever cherished by all who were blessed to know and love him.

Although the 1920s were highly prosperous days in America, the 1930s were a much different story as the entire decade was cloaked in the hardship of the Great Depression. Jobs were scarce, which sent the unemployment rate soaring, and things only went from bad to worse when a crippling drought covered our nation’s heartland for nearly two years. Amidst this challenging time was the year 1932 when Harold and Doris (Horsfall) Hayward were eagerly anticipating the birth of their new baby as summer arrived in the city of Vicksburg, Michigan. The big day finally arrived on June 11th when the baby boy they named Ronald Earl drew his first breath. He was the older of two children as he was raised in the family home alongside his brother, Loren.

Ron's father Harold and his Uncle Roger co-owned Hayward Dairy and the two families also shared the home on the farm. Later on, the two families had their own homes and began raising beef cattle. Ron's mother owned The Hat and Gown Shop in Vicksburg with her sister-in-law, Ilah. In many ways, Ron was a young man of his generation. He attended local schools where he participated in basketball, baseball, and running track. Ron graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1951 and then went on to attend Michigan State Agricultural College.

Not to be forgotten during his years as a young man was Ron’s introduction to the young woman of his dreams. Her name was Florence Bunschoten, and she worked at Hill’s Pharmacy. A bit smitten, Ron offered her a ride on his scooter. Soon after, they began dating, and Ron and Florence became high school sweethearts. With a desire to establish a life together, they were married on May 24, 1952. As a young husband Ron joined the United States Army in 1953 and was stationed in Ft. Hood, Texas, as a tank commander. After being honorably discharged in March of 1955, he returned to Vicksburg to farm alongside his father and brother Loren.

Together Ron and Florence were thrilled to welcome three daughters, Rhonda, Terri, and Paula, into their hearts and home. They had a couple of pets that were like additional members of the family including their white boxer, Duke, and also Gomer. With a farm they had ponies with Queenie and Princess being Ron’s favorites. Of course there were also plenty of barn cats, which at one point included 22 at the same time! As a family they enjoyed many summer vacations to Northern Michigan, and they also took a few trips into Canada and to Texas and Kentucky. They had animals that they took to the Kalamazoo County Fair, and he was the one who helped the girls with this project.

Even though farming was always his true love, Ron worked in various other positions in order to provide for his family. He started out at Little Brothers Feed & Grain Mill and then operated a drag-line crane for Lawrence Hayward, developing the peninsula on Indian Lake, better known as High View Shores. After the peninsula project was completed, Ron went to work as a heavy equipment operator for Woolf Excavating. Finally, he retired from Illinois Envelope as a delivery driver. Of course these jobs were all done while continuing to work on his beloved farm.

Even when he wasn’t working, Ron was one to be busy. He was an active part of his community including as a member of the Vicksburg United Methodist Church and the Farm Bureau. Ron also served on the Schoolcraft Township Zoning Board and the Prairie Squares Square Dance Club. He and Flo traveled to Hawaii and Alaska, and spent many years wintering in Florida. After returning home from Florida he was always anxious to get on his tractor! Every Labor Day they looked forward to the Mackinac Bridge Walk. The couple could often be found volunteering at the Vicksburg United Methodist Church rummage sales. Ron was a meat and potatoes sort of guy who loved a great meatloaf, but he also couldn’t resist his sweets like Flo's pies, coffee and donuts. Sunday nights often meant that Ron was enjoying a bowl of popcorn. Every summer Ron planted sunflowers for all to enjoy and pumpkins for the grandchildren.

A kindhearted, generous, and genuine man, Ronald Hayward was such a blessing to others. He was outgoing and social with a personality that drew others near with ease, and he so appreciated a good sense of humor. Ron wasn’t one to get caught up in pursuing the elusive “American dream,” rather, his focus was on living a life of purpose while holding his loved ones near. Conservative, driven, and hardworking, he accomplished so much of which to be proud. Ron will never be forgotten.

Ronald Earl Hayward, of Vicksburg, died on Friday, September 11, 2015. Ron’s family includes his three daughters: Rhonda (Dan) Walters, Terri (Ken) Wolthuis, and Paula (Steve) Brundige all of Vicksburg; seven grandchildren: Scott (Lana) Bowen, Amy (Josh) Wright, Laura (Zac) Niven, Lucas Wolthuis, Katelyn Brundige, Joel Wolthuis and Anna Brundige; six great-grandchildren: Brynn, Tucker, Olivia, Oliver, Ally and Milo; sisters-in-law: Billie Gail Hayward, Nellie Yahr, Gert (Harry) Cornell; and many nieces and nephews. Rom was preceded in death by his loving wife, Florence, on March 13, 2015; parents; brother, Loren; and niece, Sean. Please visit Ron’s webpage at www.lifestorynet.com for funeral arrangements, sign the guest book, share a photo and/or memory. Those who wish to may make a memorial contribution to the Vicksburg United Methodist Church, the Vicksburg Community Foundation, South County Community Services or the Vicksburg Historical Society.

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