1 November 2011
OBITUARY: Gerald HAYES 1938 - 2011
Gerald Hayes was one of the many officials on whom the sport of athletics relies to remain viable. Some would be aware Gerald was extensively involved in administration and officiating for more than 30 years, but he did so much more in his life that many who met this unassuming official never have known about.
Born on March 23, 1938, Gerald Hayes died on October 15 2011, aged 73 years, as a result of multiple brain melanomas.
Born in Chatswood, Gerald was raised in Lane Cove. His primary schooling was at Villa Maria, Hunters Hill, followed by secondary schooling at Marist Brothers Mosman where he attained his Leaving Certificate. He served at the altar of St Michael’s Church at Lane Cove. During this time the junior priest in the parish built himself a caravan at the side of the Hayes family’s newly built home in Gamma Rd.
Soon after he left school Gerald joined the Mosman/Neutral Bay Rifle Club and was a strong competitor for a number of years.
Gerald abandoned study in veterinary science to sit the Public Service examination and started with the Agriculture Department in 1955. In 1965 while later working at the Lands Department he was seconded to a position at Government House. In 32 ½ years he served five Governors during which time he met royalty and various international dignitaries. He was awarded the Public Service Medal for loyal and continuous work. He was also awarded a Government Service Award for Meritorious Service to the State for more than 40 years.
In October, 1964, Gerald married Jacky and they had three children David, Catherine and Michael.
Gerald was also involved with the Australian Red Cross Blood Service. He was already a donor when, in 1967, he and about 400 other men were asked to join the Rh Project in NSW. He was one of 300 who developed anti-D antibodies and by 1969 Australia was self-sufficient in supplying antibodies to Rh negative pregnant women in need. Hundreds of thousands of babies were born healthy and a similar number of mothers did not have to go through the heartache of losing their babies. In fact Gerald’s healthy grandchildren are a direct product of his antibodies as Carolin (his daughter in-law) is O negative. Gerald received as much as he gave and greatly enjoyed the friendship of the Blood Bank staff. His greatest hurt from his final illness was that it stopped his trip into the city every two weeks to donate. His final total of donations was 821 – a truly great effort. At that time, he was the second highest donor in NSW and the ACT.
Jacky and Gerald started working in athletics in the early ‘70s. They almost single-handedly ran Fairfield Athletics Club and Western Zone at Makepeace Oval at Fairfield for many years. They worked at all levels in the sport, club, zone, state and national in Little Athletics and for Athletics NSW and Athletics Australia.
Gerald worked as an official in the Technical Information Centre at the Sydney Olympics and Paralympics. He was often seen as an umpire and a track referee and always had a friendly word.
Gerald’s daughter Catherine said one of her father’s most awe-inspiring efforts was his attitude in his last 18 months after suffering a stroke.
`‘There was never a `why me’ but more an attitude of `well, this has happened – let’s just get on with it’,’’ she said. ``His stroke rehab and recovery saw him tenaciously attend to all his exercises, focussing on what he could do. Dad lost his ability to speak with the first stroke, but he regained a lot due to his work with speech therapy.
``He was able resume his JP work because of his hard work in recovering his speech.”
Gerald Hayes’ funeral was a great tribute to a gentle and caring man. And his daughter summed it up perfectly.
``Dad was a man of integrity who would do the right thing, without expectation of reward.
``He was a quiet achiever who was respectful and respected.
``We remember our dad Gerald as a man of diligence and dignity.”
David Tarbotton and Ron Bendall for Athletics NSW
Thanks to David, Bernard and Catherine Hayes and Ian White for assistance in preparing this obituary.
Image: Gerald Hayes officiating (courtesy of David Tarbotton)