Posted on February 16th, 2020
Born in Bayonne, New Jersey in 1925, Bill Hayes passed away at age 94 at Brookdale of Hamilton senior living center peacefully on February 10, 2020 with his family by his side. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991, in recognition of his outstanding achievements with several of the best-known corps of the day. He was also a member of the New Jersey Drum Corps Hall of Fame, inducted in 1998.
After distinguished service during World War II, he returned to school, graduating from the School of American Music in New York in 1947. His devotion to music as a trumpet player and instructor led him to work with many top-ranked drum and bugle corps, including Hawthorne Caballeros, New York Skyliners, St. Catharine’s of Sienna Queensmen and Florida Vanguard of Miami. He served as the music and drill instructor of the Blessed Sacrament Golden Knights of Newark, helping them win four national championships,
He was first affiliated with the Sal MacKenzie Post corps. He also judged marching and manoeuvring, horns and music for several judging associations. While playing for the Caballeros, he was widely admired and recognized for his soprano solo in “Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White.”
While a member of the Army Air Corps serving in World War II as a ball turret gunner with the 459th bomb group stationed in Cerignola, Italy, he was a recipient of four Bronze Stars, the Good Conduct Medal, and an Air Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster. He was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and American Legion of Barnegat Post 232.
He moved to Florida in 1960, serving with the Hollywood Fire Department for 10 years while also working as a lifeguard and for the local Emergency Medical Service. After receiving his Bachelor’s Degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University and Master’s Degree in Education from New York University, he taught math and social studies at Village Middle School in Closter New Jersey for 19 years.
He was predeceased by Mary, his wife of 60 years, and by son Michael P. Hayes. He is survived by a daughter, Maureen Kelly and Don of Hamilton; two grandsons, Ryan A. Kelly and Matthew P. Kelly, both of Hamilton and several nieces and nephews.
Regular World Drum Corps Hall of Fame members are honored for their dedication, contributions and achievements over a long period of time in categories including administration, arranging, adjudication, instruction, innovation and design. Associate members have dedicated at least five consecutive years of service to any drum and bugle corps as a performer or in a support role. Special membership categories include inductees honored for Distinguished Professional Achievement and individuals receiving the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
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