Bud Hayes, 81, of Oak Park, died on Nov. 25, 2014 after a seven-year battle with pulmonary fibrosis. Growing up as a PK (pastor's kid), what he found in his father's conservative denomination on the one hand lasted a lifetime, but it required a lot of adapting as he moved through life.
Born in Milwaukee on Aug. 12, 1933. He earned his bachelor's degree from North Central College and two master's degrees from Yale University, where he studied under some of the most profound theologians of the 20th century, who helped him think about his faith in ways that were relevant to post-World War II America.
At Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania, where he taught for five years, he had his first encounter with LGBT students, who risked confiding in him even though at that time most stayed in the closet. "They thought it was safe to talk to me," he said in a Wednesday Journal profile earlier this year.
His next job was with the Caron Foundation, a substance abuse facility, also in Pennsylvania.
"Working with the 12 steps was changing me," he said. "They initiated me into what has become a lifelong process on my part — giving up the need to control. At AA meetings, I introduce myself by saying, 'I'm Bud Hayes and I'm recovering from myself.'"
Hayes moved to Oak Park in 1976 and continued working in the field of substance abuse at what was then Family Services and Mental Health Center. He joined First United Church of Oak Park, where after 9/11, he participated in a peace vigil every Friday evening until October of this year. On Saturdays he participated in a group called Inner Peace/World Peace. The group published a journal of which he was the editor.
His wife Vickie said he was more of an observer than a talker. He would listen to conversations for a long time and then offer a sentence or two which would neatly sum up what had been said. The compassion he showed students at Albright also became evident in the Inner Peace group, where longtime participants would confide in him.
He had a dry, wry sense of humor.
His avocation and passion, however, was writing. Vickie said that when something affected him, he picked up a pen. He wrote a novel and many poems but never published them. He felt the need to write but had no interest in the work necessary to promote the results.
His concern for peace, his skill at writing, and taking responsibility for changing himself in order to address perceived wrongs in society is revealed in his poem, "A Manifesto for Peacemakers," written in 2002:
We are nonviolent, not because we are wimps,
But because we are lovers,
Part of a divine conspiracy
To soften the hardness of our hearts.
And in our loving, and our hoping,
In our subversive spirituality,
We are not righteous,
Because it is always also our own liberation that we seek,
But we are confident.
We are confident.
Bud Hayes is survived by his wife, Victoria Engelhardt; his sons, Matthew and Joseph; his stepchildren, Ellen Chase and Adam Engelhardt; and 10 grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to First United Church of Oak Park, 848 Lake St., 60301; North Central College, 30 N. Brainard St., Naperville, IL 60540; or Yale Divinity School, 409 Prospect St., New Haven, CT 06511.
A memorial service will be held at First United Church, 848 Lake St., on Saturday, Dec. 6 at 3 p.m.
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