ALBANY -- Mr. William James (Bill) Hays, 87, of Albany died peacefully at home, July 23, 2012. He was a mischievous soul with a great love of his family. He had an uncompromising sense of right and wrong.

Funeral services will be Saturday 10 AM at Kimbrell-Stern. Rev. Josh Duckworth officiating. Interment will follow at Hopeful Baptist Church Cemetery in Mitchell Co.

A native of Hopeful, GA, Mr. Hays has lived in Albany since 1964, where he was a member of Porterfield Memorial United Methodist Church, and former longtime member and deacon of First Baptist Church of Albany. He served in the United States Army Air Corp. during W.W. II as a radio operator and navigator on a B-17 bomber. Mr. Hays retired from the UGA Cooperative Extension Service with 30 years of service. After his retirement he was a pecan specialist, and was instrumental in starting numerous pecan groves in Dougherty County. He was a longtime member and past-president of the Exchange Club of Albany and a member of the American Legion. Mr. Hays was the youngest of 14 children.

Survivors include his wife, Shirley W. Hays of Albany, his children, William James (Butch) Hays, Jr. and his wife Esther of La Mesa, CA, Marcia Hays Barfield and her husband Toby of Chapel Hill, NC, David Thomas Hays and his wife Carrie Ellen of Senoia, GA, and Katie Hays Goette and her husband John of St. Louis, MO, grandchildren, William James Hays, III, Lauren Ney, Toland Barfield, Ginger Baxley, Christian Revell, Garrett Hays, Beth Kelley and Matthew Goette, 8 great-grandchildren, sister, Esther Connell of Pelham, GA.

Mr. Hays was preceded in death by his parents, Luther Henry and Katie West Hays, his wife, Virginia Hays and 12 brothers and sisters.

The family will receive friends Friday from 6:00 PM till 8:00 PM at Kimbrell-Stern.

Those desiring, please make memorials to Hopeful Baptist Church 2655 GA Hwy 97, Camilla, GA, 31730 or Georgia Baptist Children's Home Central Office P.O. Box 329 Palmetto, GA 30268.

You may sign the online guest book and share your own special thoughts with the family of Mr. Hays by visiting Kimbrell-Stern's website at

Kimbrell-Stern Funeral Directors

Albany 229/883-4152