Paul C. Hay
Paul ‘Clover’ Hay passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, November 14, 2023. Paul was born March 29, 1951, in Watervliet, Michigan. He grew up on a diversified farm in VanBuren County, Michigan, the family called ‘Ivanhoe Place’. His family attended the Congregational church in Bangor, Michigan. Paul graduated valedictorian of Bangor High School in 1969, then went on to Michigan State University where he met his future-wife Julie Vallender (Beaverton, MI) and earned a B.S. in agriculture. In 1973, the couple moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, to attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Paul married Julie at her family home in Beaverton, Michigan, on August 17, 1974.
After receiving a Masters degree in Agronomy. Paul took his first Cooperative Extension job as County Agent in Frontier County, Nebraska, in 1975. In 1980, Paul, Julie, and their first two children, moved to Beatrice where Paul became a County Agent for Gage County, Nebraska. Paul remained an Extension Educator for UNL Extension for 42 years, until his retirement.
Paul Hay is preceded in death by his parents, Randolph and Frances (Orris) Hay; brothers Frank Hay (Lawrence, MI) and Randy Hay (Paw Paw, MI); and wards Emery Warren and Janice Herman.
Paul is survived by his wife Julie (Vallender) Hay; friend Ardyth Orwen, Brother Joseph (Eva) Hay of Bangor, MI; his children Jasmine (Kelly) Kugler of Lincoln, John (Brooke) Hay of Palmyra, NE, Sarah (Nick) Hay of Sabetha, KS, and Christine (Nirav) Hay of Tuscon, AZ, and grandchildren Elaine (20), Spencer (19), Avery (18), Liatris (13) and Hubbard (9).
Paul and Julie became members of the First Presbyterian Church in 1984 where Paul served in several roles including Sunday school teacher and Elder. For over 40 years, Paul made countless contributions to Gage County agriculture as well as to the University of Nebraska and greater State of Nebraska. Paul had a special interest in the adoption of no-till farming and other conservation practices. As part of Keep Beatrice Beautiful, Paul's efforts and organization of the Tire Amnesty almost always exceeded the tonnage expected. Paul's impact on youth was also expansive. He was often creating new plant science 4-H projects and involving young 4-Hers in unforgettable experiences such as Camp Renegade (in Jefferson County) and Aksarben Catch-a-calf. Teens who participated in Washington Focus trips to the nation's capital will remember Paul as a lively chaperone with an endless fountain of historical information and stories. Paul was an active volunteer with Beatrice Noon Kiwanis for over 30 years, previously serving as treasurer and president. Volunteering through Kiwanis, Paul sold Christmas trees to earn money for the new Beatrice Public Library, and volunteered at MUDECAS tournaments.
Invited to crash KWBE morning Birthday line shows, the station even gave away ‘Hay, Paul!’ t-shirts when he showed up. He entertained crowds as a fill-in announcer at Beatrice High School JV football games. Paul became a Teammates mentor in his retirement, mentoring several young people one-on-one over the years.
After retiring, Paul’s days were filled with grandchildren, meeting friends for coffee and breakfast, Kiwanis, service to the church, attending Husker sports games, feeding and watching the wildlife in his backyard, and visiting unique museums around Nebraska and the Midwest.
Paul was a dedicated Husker fan, keeping up with football, baseball, softball, and volleyball, often watching and listening to several games at the same time. He was a lifelong (MSU) Spartan fan, wearing both red and green on GameDay when NU played Michigan State.
Paul was known best as a self-less, hard working man. He never turned down an opportunity to learn, educate others and share his knowledge, and share life’s anecdotes. He was a community leader, demonstrating the very best of “Nebraska Nice” and teaching us how to live our best lives, with the most positive outlook and hope for the future. Many people were encouraged by cards from Paul to recognize birthdays and accomplishments, or just to let them know he thought of them. Paul will be remembered as an amazing father and grandparent, colleague, friend, and devout Christian.
Paul's Celebration of Life Service will be held at 2:00 PM Sunday, November 19, 2023 at the First Presbyterian Church in Beatrice with Pastor Doris Martin officiating. The service will be Livestreamed on www.ghchapel.com, and on the church You Tube page. A reception will be held in the basement of the church following the service. A family prayer service will be held at 1:45 PM Sunday at the church. Public visitation will be held on Saturday from 11:00-8:00 at the Griffiths-Hovendick Chapel in Beatrice with the family there to greet friends from 2-4:00 PM. A memorial has been established to the First Presbyterian Church and to 4-H with Gene and Fran Martin in charge.
In remembering Paul, we invite you to share your memories, view his video tribute and service livestream, and upload photos to his memorial page at www.ghchapel.com. Let us remember Paul for his dedicated service, his generous spirit, his witty humor, and let his legacy live on in our hearts.
These services have been entrusted to the Griffiths-Hovendick Chapel in Beatrice.