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Catherine Vilas Hayes

1929 - 2018

Catherine was born in the Rogue Valley in 1929, a few months after the stock market crash. She often talked about her loving family - her parents, Catherine “Trum” and Edward “Ned” Vilas; her big sister, Susan; and her twin brother, Edward “Ned.”

Raised on a working ranch and pear orchard out in the country, near what was then called Sticky Lane, Catherine remembered the horse-drawn farm equipment before WWII. She reminisced about having been raised by a loving family with many local relatives. She talked about her warm memories of family times and holiday dinners at the extended family home on South Oakdale, and at her parents’ home on Vilas Road. She fondly remembered her childhood, which she called wonderful.

Throughout her life, Catherine loved nature, the mountains, rowing and swimming in lakes, hiking, and being at one with the natural world. She hiked, and appreciated and advocated for public lands and public access. Catherine was married to James “Bud” Hayes for 49 years before he died over a decade ago. Catherine and Bud raised two daughters, Molly and Elizabeth. For many years Catherine was a public elementary school teacher in Ashland, and she adored children and their love of learning.

Catherine’s spirit will be in the places she loved, especially Lake of the Woods and the public lands she explored. For her dear friends and family, when you are out in nature - please feel free in lieu of flowers to think about Catherine.

Catherine was preceded in death by her parents, husband, and sister. She is survived by her twin brother, Ned Vilas and his wife, Marilynn of Davis, California. She is also survived by her daughters, Molly Hayes of Vancouver, Washington and Elizabeth Hayes and son-in-law, Larry Slessler of Medford; her sister’s children, Bonnie Holmes Stroh and Scott Holmes; her cousin, Peter Deuel; Joan Handwerg; and good friends and extended family, including her husband’s nieces and nephews. Catherine appreciated her friends, family, and nature. At her request there will be no service.