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Obituary of Donald J. Hayward
Donald J. “Don” Hayward passed away on June 4, 2023, at Olympics West Assisted Living Facility in Tumwater, Washington.
Don was born on December 28, 1926, in Wenatchee, Washington. He spent his early years living in the original Crescent Bar near Quincy and he attended grade school in Trinidad. The family moved to Moses Lake in 1940. Don of course had no idea that in 1944 before his 18th birthday he would graduate from Moses Lake High School and be serving on a Navy oil tanker in the North Atlantic. Don volunteered for service in the war, and after specialized training in diesel engines that powered the ships, he was assigned to serve aboard the U.S.S. Elokomin AO-55. The ship helped refuel the convoys that traversed the dangerous North Atlantic. Don was the last surviving crew member of the Elokomin who served during WWII.
After the war, Don returned to his home in Eastern Washington where he continued his love of diesel engines. He purchased a truck and began his life-long career as a truck driver by hauling hay to Western Washington. While in Ellensburg, he found the love of his Life, Barbara “Barb” J. Blue. They were married in Ephrata on June 2, 1947, and had three children. After a few months, Don and Barb moved to Western Washington where they lived, worked, and raised their children in Tenino and Lacey during the years until their retirement. For almost 40 years, Don drove trucks of any kind with any kind of load (hay, logs, dynamite, gasoline, or beer). The final 20 years of his career were spent working for Santry trucking, hauling Olympia beer. No other driver for the company could match Don’s record of having over two million miles without a chargeable accident.
After retirement in 1983, Don and Barb sold their home in Lacey and took on a fun new chapter in their life. They moved into their RV full time and became RV wagon masters. Working for Tracks to Adventure and Points South, they led over 100 caravans on trips to places in Mexico, New Zealand, and along the full length of the Oregon trail in addition to over 25 trips to Alaska. During the ‘80s and ‘90s, the citizens band radio (CB) was the most common form of communication among caravanners. Don and Barb’s call sign was ROVER 99. In 1996, they bought a home in Centralia, although for several years they continued to travel to Alaska in the summers and to Arizona in the winter.
In July of 2019, after 72 years of marriage, Don was preceded in death by his wife, Barb. His death was also preceded by his daughter, Donna Jean; his granddaughter, Jennifer Lynne Grate; and step grandchildren, Robert “Bobby” Lund and Mary Lund.
Don is survived by his daughter, Carol (Dave) Lund, of Centralia; son, Allen Hayward, of Tumwater; and his brother, John Perrie. He has many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, nephews, and nieces.
Don’s family wants to express their thanks and appreciation for the care and compassion shown to our father by the staff of Providence Hospice and to the helpful staff at Olympics West.
In lieu of flowers, if desired, memorials may be made to the Veterans Memorial Museum in Centralia where Don had a lifetime membership.
Don and Barb are now reunited in their travels for eternity as ROVER 99.
A private inurnment will be held at Mountain View Cemetery in Centralia.
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