Betty Hays

Betty May Hays (Highfill)

Tuesday, June 11th, 1929 - Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
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Betty May Hays, 90, Plattsburg, MO formerly of Poplar Bluff, MO passed away October 15, 2019. Services will be private. The family requests contributions to the First United Methodist Church of Poplar Bluff, 500 N. Main St., Poplar Bluff, MO 63901 or the American Cancer Society.
Betty was born June 11, 1929 in Doniphan, MO. She graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a B.S. in Education and a Masters’ Degree in reading. She was a first grade teacher at O’Neal School in Poplar Bluff. She retired after thirty-two years of service in 1994. She was named the Teacher of the Year in 1983 for the Poplar Bluff School District.
Betty was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Poplar Bluff and, along with her husband, was a charter member of The Wesleyan Class for young married couples. She enjoyed sewing, baking, growing flowers and reading.
Betty is survived by daughters Pam Hays, Jami Goetz; son Ray Hays and wife Angela; brother Jim Highfill; grandchildren Cassie Plowman, Alexis Hays, Max Hays, Tyler Fiala and great-grandson Cavaughn Plowman.
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Private Condolence

Dennis Keeling

Posted at 09:27pm
I knew Jim and Betty through the Methodist Church. They were wonderful people and set a great example for the rest of us.

Pete Montgomery

Posted at 11:19am
Mrs. Betty Hays was an incredible human being who quietly improved the lives of thousands of kids (and adults) in Poplar Bluff, MO. And, she saved my life at six years old.

Mrs. Hays’ impact on my life started with my Frone (my paternal-grandmother). Frone realized that I really couldn’t read or spell at six—I was faking it—my earliest acting gig. Frone recognized that I was simply memorizing shapes, which ultimately meant that I wasn’t learning much in the first grade. I was busted. The truth at the time was that I knew I was faking it; I just figured I was stupid.

My parents and Frone recruited my dad’s first grade teacher, Mrs. Hays, to restart the learning process. Thanks to Mrs. Hays, I went from a dumb kid who couldn’t read to a less dumb kid that ended up loving school and doing pretty darn well (at least academically).

Although she wasn't my 1st grade teacher, she tutored me daily at her home and would fix me a snack of fresh sliced pears while teaching me the basics (and a few life lessons too). She changed my life trajectory. She saved me from becoming a disinterested and despondent kid. She laid the foundation for a life rooted in curiosity and learning. She gave me the ultimate do-over.

Thank you Mrs. Hays. Thank you for your time. Thank you for caring. Thank you for listening. Thank you for teaching. Thank you for your love. And, thank you for the pears.

I raise a glass to Betty Hays (and to my Frone). Much love and appreciation.

Pete Montgomery

Sally n Rob Montgomery

Posted at 08:26pm
When our middle son Pete was in the first grade he was struggling with reading and spelling. After testing we discovered that he didn’t get some of the things he should have learned in kindergarten. Our angel of mercy came to the rescue and tutored Pete to learn how to catch up and pass what he had missed. She made learning fun. Every time he would learn a new word it was written on feathers for head bands. He had many long feathers for his head bands. She was a true angel for our little boy who thought he was stupid but as it turned out it was things he just hadn’t learned yet!🥰🥰🙏🏻🙏🏻

Sarah Jane Faughn

Posted at 07:36pm
I was fortunate to have Mrs. Hays as my first grade teacher (she was my dad’s as well!). What a fine Christian lady she was! I will never forget her walking to and from school twice a day- I always admired how active she was. She taught me to love reading, and how to carry the one in addition. The way she taught me, it was as if a light bulb went off in my mind...I finally got it! She was firm, yet kind. She ran a tight ship, but was oh so lovable to us. Thank you for teaching me so much, Mrs. Hays. May God rest your soul. much love- Sarah Jane Faughn (Montgomery)

Heather Hunt Nagy

Posted at 05:54pm
I loved having Mrs. Hayes for my first grade teacher. She was the sweetest, most kind person ever! She always remembered me even years later. I'm so sorry for your loss!

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