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Family, employees mourn port Lavaca businessman at funeral

By JJ VELASQUEZ
Aug. 3, 2010 at 3:03 a.m.

Pallbearers carry J.V. Hayes's flag-draped casket to his final resting place. Hayes received a full military funeral for his service in World War II as a radio operator in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was also well-known for his business, Hayes Electric Service, which he started in 1964 in his garage.

J.V. HAYES TIMELINE

Oct. 12, 1923 - Hayes is born in Edna to Walter and Marie Hayes.

Feb. 23, 1945 - Hayes witnesses the raising of the flag on Iwo Jima while serving in World War II.

1964 - Hayes starts his business, Hayes Electric Service, from his garage.

PORT LAVACA - A fleet of green trucks departed from J.V. Hayes's burial Tuesday at Port Lavaca Cemetery.

The trucks, whose color had reminded Hayes of money, became a signature of his business, Hayes Electric Service, which he began in 1964. Hayes leaves behind two sons and two daughters. Also in attendance were his 20 employees at the company.

"In the 86 years he lived, I know that he touched a lot of people by his kindness," said Roger Cortinez, an electrician who worked for Hayes in the late 80s and then recently came back to work for Hayes Electric Service.

"(His employees) come back because they value the friendship," Cortinez said. "He would always have good advice for us. He was good people."

Before the burial, family members as well as employees were invited to bid farewell to the man who was a father to some and a father figure to many.

Richard Falcon, a warranty clerk at the company, recalled Hayes telling stories about his days in the U.S. Marine Corps. Hayes witnessed the raising of the flag on Iwo Jima, which was documented by a now-iconic photograph from World War II.

Hayes was a radio operator in the war. He later became a member of the Port Lavaca Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Hayes began operating his electric company from his garage. Gradually, he built up the family operation that exists today. The business will continue under the leadership of his sons, employees said.

The Rev. Carl E. Westbrook delivered Hayes's eulogy.

Westbrook knew Hayes for seven years, since he began as pastor of First United Methodist Church.

Hayes had a good sense of humor, loved animals, was an Astros fan and a pilot, Westbrook said.

Westbrook relayed one of Hayes's famous sayings:

"Everything comes to he who hustles."

Falcon used to get a chuckle out of the stories Hayes would tell. But Falcon remembers that he was always there to offer advice when someone was in need.

"Everybody he came in contact with he touched one way or another," he said.

Hayes, born in Edna, died Friday of complications from pneumonia, Cortinez said. Memorials may be made to the Port Lavaca Cemetery Association.

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