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Elmwood Cemetery

Woodward, Woodward County, Oklahoma

© Billings Funeral Home
Submitted by: Terry Dudley

Belva Jean Morse Hayes

December 18, 1933 ~ January 1, 2022

Belva Jean Hayes, 88 formerly of Woodward passed away January 1, 2022 in Edmond. Graveside services will be held at 2:30 pm Saturday, January 8, 2022 in Elmwood Cemetery. Billings Funeral Home is in charge of all arrangements.

Belva, a woman devoted to family and helping others, was born in Baileyboro, Texas. She had a challenging childhood, as her mother died that day after giving birth. She graduated from Levelland High School where she met the love of her life, Joe Morris Hayes. The couple were best friends and named King and Queen of their senior class. Joe and Belva were married July 27, 1951 and spent their early years in San Francisco where Joe served in the US Navy, while Belva occupied her time in constant pursuit of a more reasonably priced apartment.

After serving their country, they made their home in Levelland, Texas where their first daughter, ReGina, was born. Belva worked for Production Credit Association and Joe began his career with Amoco Production Co. They were then transferred to Pampa, Texas where Belva worked as a school clerk and their second daughter, Rhonda, was born. Several lifelong friends were made while in Pampa. ReGina and Rhonda remember their mom doing crafts with them, organizing play dates with neighbors, and planning special birthday celebrations. She simply prioritized her family in the most loving, positive, selfless way.

The family later moved to Woodward where their third daughter (surprise!) Robin, was born. Robin remembers her mom as kind, loving, and someone that would always be there. Chauffeuring around friends and classmates on school trips and other adventures. Robin agrees with her sisters on her putting together the best birthday parties, which always had a theme or involved dress up.

While in Woodward, Belva had many career paths, including Hodges Trucking Company, the Woodward Public School Administration Office, Fairway Drilling Company, and the Lydia Hawkins Foundation. No matter the occupation, her work ethic was strong and her dedication to the community and family was paramount. Joe and Belva spent 38 wonderful years in Woodward, making dear friends and countless memories.

After retiring, Joe and Belva put many miles on their motorhome, traveling across the country. They didn't want to miss a thing.

In 1999 they left Woodward for Possum Kingdom (PK) Lake in Texas, where they enjoyed the "lake life" with friends and family for 11 fun-filled years. Boat trips for fried catfish, morning coffee talk on the screened porch and smells of Belva's (MeMe's) cooking on the cast iron skillet to bring the water-skiers and tubers back to red-roofed house were hallmarks of the most perfect lake trips. While at PK, Belva enjoyed volunteering and spending quality time with her family and friends wherever and whenever she could.

Throughout her life, Belva was a source of unwavering, constant support to her family. She is the type of woman and mother that her daughters and granddaughters aspire to be: positive, selfless, prioritizing family over everything else, slow to anger, patient, gentle, extremely hard-working, and always asking "How can I help" Her legacy of virtue and love will continue through the generations in the lives of her family and friends. Overall, she was truly an unforgettable Mom, MeMe, friend, and wife and will be missed greatly but will never be forgotten.

Belva's family is grateful for all those at Touchmark and Lifespring in Edmond who cared for her and loved her.

She is preceded in death by her parents, Robert Bates Morse and Estella Neutzler, stepmother Cornelia West, and husband Joe.

Belva is survived by daughters, Regina Johnson and husband Tommy; Rhonda Hodges and husband Bill; Robin Ganslen and husband Keith; seven grandchildren, Janie Briggs and husband Rothy, Jessica Johnson; Anna Patterson and husband Travis, Abby Hodges, Alli Hodges; Hagen Ganslen and Claira, Alton Ganslen; five great-grandchildren, Keirstin Briggs, Kellyn Briggs; Hayes Patterson, Jack Patterson, and Hattie Patterson; two sisters, Dorenda Morse, Deborah Pecorelli and husband Don; other relatives and many treasured friends.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Dementia Research, with the funeral home accepting the contributions.

Remembrances may be made online at www.billingsfuneralhomewoodward.com

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