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Obituary for Ralph Majors Hays
Ralph Majors Hays, Colonel, USAF, retired, (9 March 1923 to 15 May 2015) was born in Peru, Nebraska to Isabelle and Warren Hays. He learned to fly over the cornfields of Nebraska in a Piper Cub airplane when he was 17 years old. Ralph joined the US Army Air Corps during World War II, and trained other pilots to fly P-51 Mustangs. After the war, he went to the University of Washington, where he met Alice Skellenger, whom he married in 1947. That year, Ralph joined the newly-formed United States Air Force, having obtained the highest admittance score ever recorded. He and Alice were stationed at Chitose Air Base in Hokkaido, Japan. They were then stationed in Sidi Slimane, French Morocco; Washington, D.C.; Montgomery, Alabama; Dover AFB, Delaware; Scott AFB, Illinois; and Travis AFB, California, where he retired in 1975. During his career, Ralph was in the Korean War, the Belgian Congo Action, and the Viet Nam War, where he flew air support during the Tet Offensive. As well as a pilot, Ralph served in the Air Force as a meteorologist, and taught at the National War College. In 'retirement,' Ralph was a gentleman farmer, planting a large personal orchard and landscaping the 20 acres outside of Vacaville, California that he and Alice bought after retiring from the Air Force. He built several custom homes; traveled the world with Alice and friends; and made yearly trips to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and to Lake Shasta for family houseboat vacations. Ralph grilled outstanding ribs, was a fan of the San Francisco 49ers, and read every science fiction novel he could lay his hands on. Ralph is survived by his wife, Alice Skellenger Hays; his sister Marion Hays; his daughters Susan Ibarra, Elizabeth Hays-Lohrey, and Katrina Hays; his son Mark Hays; seven grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. He is deeply missed, but never will be forgotten. Fly high, Colonel.