Mary Louise Powell Hays, 80 - Roanoke, VA

Mary Louise Powell Hays died in Roanoke, VA on January 22, 2014 at the age of 80.

She is predeceased by her husband of 55 years, Samuel Arnold Hays and her parents, Thurl Charles and Zoë Altizer Powell.

Mary was born March 9, 1933 in Arnoldsburg, WV, the second and only living child of her parents. Mary lived in and around Arnoldsburg her entire childhood and benefited from this small town surrounded by farmland. A lifelong lover of animals, she always had a variety of pets and farm animals on which she doted. She loved make believe, climbing trees, catching crawdads in the creek and riding her bike down very steep roads when her parents were not looking.

She grew up to marry her next door neighbor, Samuel Arnold Hays on June 9, 1951, after he served in World War II and graduated from WVU with a law degree. They were married in the town's United Methodist Church, Louisa Chapel, named for Mr. Hays' great grandmother Louisa Sexton, married to Peregrine Hays who gave the land on which the church was built. Mary and Sam had attended this church since birth.

Mary fully embraced her chosen vocation of homemaker. She moved several times supporting her husband's corporate career, living in Wheeling and then Parkersburg, WV, Charlottesville, VA, Newark, OH and Frederick, MD. They retired in 1985 to Roanoke, VA to live near family.

In each place, Mary created a warm and hospitable home for her family. Having been born during the Great Depression, her frugality made her love the hunt for a bargain, which she nearly raised to an art form. She channeled her creativity into decorating, cooking, flower gardening and arranging.

She enjoyed membership and leadership roles in the Down to Earth Garden Club, Newark, OH, Green-walled Garden Club of Frederick, MD and Sugar Loaf Garden Club of Roanoke, VA. These same talents were used in church volunteer work throughout her adult life, especially in altar preparation duties of flower arranging.

During retirement, Mary and her husband traveled extensively to all parts of the United States, as well as other parts of North America and Europe, but always loving this country and its people the best. No matter where Mary found herself, she was likely to make new friends, having the knack for conversation with anyone and enjoying the process of connecting with others.

Her gregarious nature, hospitality, sense of humor and loyalty to friends and family are attributes that truly defined her. But her love of God and Christian devotion shaped her entire life through faithful worship and study, singing in choirs, personal prayer, and service.

Mary is survived by son, Col. (ret.) Mark Warren Hays and wife, Gwen Petersilge Hays of Sandy, UT; daughter, The Rev. Melissa Hays-Smith and husband, Howard Jerome ("Jerry") Smith of Roanoke, VA; grandchildren, Tara Townsend Hays Purinton and husband, Chase Purinton of Incline Village, NV, Jessie Meadows Hays Anderson and husband, Tyler Anderson of Cottonwood Heights, UT, Scarlett Zoë Hays Smith and husband, Christopher Smith of Edmond, OK, Samuel Jerome Hays Smith and wife, Samantha Blair Robertson Smith of Charlotte, NC, and Lucy McCullough Hays Smith of Roanoke, VA. Mary especially was gratified by her relationships with grandchildren and even in the depths of dementia, was delighted by the arrival of her first great grandchild, Cora Belle Smith, daughter of Scarlett and Christopher Smith. Mary also is survived by brothers and sisters-in-law from the Hays family, as well as many cousins from the large Powell clan and Altizer family. She cherished them all.

A memorial service will be held, Sat., Feb. 1, 2014 at Christ Episcopal Church, 1101 Franklin Rd., Roanoke, VA, 24016 where Mary was received in 2007. The service is at 1 pm in the church with a reception to follow in the parish hall. A burial service will follow the reception at Sherwood Memorial Park in Salem, VA.

Memorial donations may be earmarked for the mission work of Christ Episcopal Church (address above), or for The Wounded Warrior Project, 4899 Belfort Rd., Suite 300, Jacksonville, FL 32256,

Special thanks to the caring staff at South Roanoke Nursing Home who helped Mary transition during her last days.