James E. "Jim" Hayes, 64, of Hamilton walked on last Sunday, September 29, at home in the loving company of his wife, Shelley. He was born January 4, 1955. His parents, Lorrel and Dorris (Miller) Hayes raised him in Lincoln, MT until his father's retirement from the Forest Service in 1972 when the family moved to a ranch in the Sheafman Creek area.
Jim graduated from Corvallis High School in 1973 and later went on to earn a degree in electronics technology from Montana College of Technology. He held numerous day jobs, a jack of all trades and master of many. His true passion was pursuing excellence in his music. He was an accomplished guitarist who played in many bands that toured throughout the region. He supported and fostered other musicians' playing through his work as owner of The Music Box from 2000 until 2014.
Jim was lucky in love. He married Barbara Downing on September 12, 1987 and became father to her four children, whom he deeply loved. He was steadfast in devotion to his family, earning respect and abiding affection. Barbara's passing in 2011 was devastating to all of them. Jim relied on the support of his longtime friend, who later became his wife, Shelley, to create a new home and life. They officially married on February 9, 2017, formalizing the family they began years earlier.
Jim and Shelley enjoyed motorcycle rides, camping, gardening, fishing, and concerts together. Over the past four years, Jim stoically weathered serious health conditions that limited time spent with family and friends who were always on his mind and in his heart. He maintained his dry sense of humor until his last day. His lifelong generosity and willingness to be of help to everyone won him several brothers from other mothers who were so important to him. Jim was a quietly spiritual man who valued the natural world and its beauty.
Jim was predeceased by his parents, Lorrel and Dorris Hayes, his grandmother, Mabel Hayes, his wife, Barbara Hayes, his father-in-law, Wayne Burgess and dear friends, Dusty Schurman and Peter Rosten. He is survived by his wife, Shelley Schreiber, stepchildren Riley and Savanna McGinley, and mother-in-law, Peggy Ann Whiddon. He is also survived by his children, Angela Bachman (Brian), Christina Frandsen (Dwayne), Sam Downing (Mara), and Jacob Downing, along with eight grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren. He is also survived by his current and former sisters-and brothers-in-laws Gabrielle Schreiber, Danielle Hambrick (Randy), Carol Terry (Bruce) and Brad Burgess (Jann) as well as four nieces and two nephews and their children. He is also survived by mother-in-law Verna Burgess.
A celebration of life will be announced at a later date. A GoFundMe page has been established to assist the family with final expenses at www.gofundme.com/f/jim-purple-hayes.
To send flowers to James' family, please visit our floral section.