Funeral services for James Hayes to be held today
By By Richard Dark/The Meridian Star
April 14, 2001
They say death comes in threes; sadly, that seems to be a theme that is playing out here as Meridian lost another one of its own and coincidentally, another with ties to the professional athletic world.
Following the tragic loss of former Meridian High standout Brian Cole last week, is former T.J. Harris High School standout James W. (Papa) Hayes.
Hayes passed away Monday, April 9 at Riley Hospital at the age of 60 after losing a battle to congestive heart failure.
In his life, Hayes went on from Harris to star at Jackson State University in the early 60's before heading to the pro ranks as a player with the Minnesota Vikings and later with the Houston Oilers. After football, Hayes became a high school coach in Indiana. He returned to the Queen City 10 years ago.
Hayes was widely regarded as a fierce defensive tackle during his playing days. A former mentor and friend told of how upon arriving at Minnesota, he tore up a 500-pound sled on the first hit.
Papa Hayes also suffered with diabetes, but family members said it didn't dampen his spirit.
The funeral will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church under the direction of the Rev. William Carey. The burial will take place at All Day Cemetery in Enterprise.
Richard Dark is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.