Paul Louis Hayes, 93, passed away peacefully at home on the family tree farm in Vader, Washington on Sept. 1, 2021.
He was born in Los Angeles, California in 1928 to proud Hungarian immigrant parents, Louis and Mary. Brother Joe followed shortly in 1930. The family lived in Venice Beach, where his father was a carpenter and his mother worked at the estate of silent screen movie star Marion Davies. The family worked hard with young Paul and Joe assisting their father in many construction projects. Although it was the height of the Great Depression, the family stayed close and strong with other relatives and immigrants in the community. There were also plenty of family adventures, such as road trips across the western states, including the 1939 San Francisco World’s Fair and seeing new “talkie” movies at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. In the early 1940s the family moved to the small resort community of Lake Elsinore, purchasing a fruit orchard property where young Paul began his love for the great outdoors and the farming lifestyle.
Paul graduated from high school in 1945 and promptly enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in the final months of World War II. Upon completion of his service, he utilized the new “G.I. Bill,” obtaining a forestry degree from the University of Washington in 1953. Tragedy struck the family in 1954, when brother Joe, a U.S. Navy pilot, perished in a military aircraft crash above the San Francisco bay.
While employed as a forester for the Washington State Division of Forestry, Paul one-day happened upon the Booth Tree Farm in Vader. This chance encounter provided the opportunity for Paul to meet his future wife, Myrtle Booth, daughter of Donnie and Doris Booth. Paul and Myrtle married in 1955. As their family grew, Paul worked in many jobs up and down the Pacific Coast, including working for CalTrans in California, Pacific Power and Light in Oregon and International Paper in Washington.
Paul, Myrtle and the family took over the Booth Tree Farm in the early 1960s, renaming it the Hayes-Booth Tree Farm. On this farm, they raised nearly as many children (eight) as they did trees. While working the farm, he continued work in the forestry industry including working for Agnew Lumber in Centralia and consulting. He eventually transitioned into working as an independent property appraiser.
Paul and family worked the tree farm for more than 60 years. Work outside the home was a full time job. Life on the farm was additional full time work taking every available hour of daylight. But it was not a job. It was his true love and he took great pride and joy in seeing the development of the land and the growth of the trees. His personal creed was to leave the land better than you received it. He aspired for the tree farm to be the immaculate center of the Stillwater Valley. He peppered the timber and Christmas tree landscape with a large fishing pond, a 30 foot tall windmill, a unique farm-plow mailbox and replica Burma-Shave signs that made the news from Seattle to Portland. Well into his 90s, he was planting trees, tending to his garden and running the chainsaw.
Although he was born a California kid, Paul was a true Washingtonian at heart and considered the family farm in Vader to be the most perfect place on earth. He was preceded in death by his wife, Myrtle, in 2012, and his oldest son, Joe, in 2017. He is survived by many children, grandchildren and his first great-grandchild, a girl, born in June of 2021. The family appreciates the many kind sentiments sent since Paul’s passing. At his request, there will be no service.