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HAYES, Edmund


Posted By: Constance Diamond (email)
Date: 6/30/2006 at 09:26:11

The Malvern Leader
Malvern, Mills County, Iowa
Feb. 16, 1928

Was Head of Catholic Church at Imogene Forty Years
One of Iowa's Richest Men; Funeral There Tuesday

Father Edmund Hayes, probably the best known Catholic priest in Iowa, and for forty years head of the Parish at Imogene, passed away at St. Joseph's hospital in Omaha Wednesday morning of last week, February 8. He had been in failing health for some time so that the end was not unlooked for. For the past two years he had been in the hospital the greater part of the time, gradually declining until the end came. The body was taken to the Heafy & Heafy mortuary in Omaha where it lay in state until Sunday. On Friday night services were held at the mortuary in Omaha where eighty-five former members of his parish, now residing in Omaha came to pay their last respects. They were brought together by Miss D.R. Cain another former parishioner of the deceased. Prayers were recited by Rev. J. W. Stenson of St Peter parish and Rev W. J. Coughlin of Holy Name parish. Friday afternoon prayers were said by Rev. P.J. Judge of Sacred Heart parish, near friend of Father Hayes. Sunday morning the body was brought to Imogene where it lay in state in St. Patrick church until Tuesday morning when the funeral services were held.

Funeral services here held from St. Patrick church, the church that represented so much of his life, Tuesday morning at ten o'clock. Preceding this the body lay in state and hundreds of his old friends and parishioners came in to pay their last respects to this many they had loved and delighted to honor.

Twenty-two priests were in attendance at the service. Monsignor [sic] McManus had charge of the services and Rev. Father Hansen of Des Moines gave the funeral sermon. The large church was filled to overflowing, many coming from other towns and places to attend the last sad rites for this many they had known and honored.

Father Hayes was probably the best known minister in all southwestern Iowa of any denomination. He came to Imogene in 1888 where he found a small parish and a little wooden church building. From this he built up one of the largest and strongest parishes in this part of the state and a few years ago built a handsome church, one of the most magnificent in the state, at a cost of
$150,000.00. A beautiful marble altar, which he had imported from Italy, was a gift to the church from Father Hayes. It had quite a history. The marble and materials were ordered from Italy during the time of the World War and the first one was lost at sea, probably sunk by a German submarine. Another was ordered and arrived in safety wand was duly installed. The whole church is a place of beauty and the altar a real work of art. During all these years he has been active head of this church and a great force in his community. In 1904 a handsome rectory or pastor's residence was built and in 1905 an academy costing $12,000.00, and in 1922, the Sisters' home was built at a cost of $13,000.00. Father Hayes donated half the cost to each of these buildings. Many of the modern conveniences and advantages enjoyed by the people of that community are directly attributed to his generosity or to his influence.

He was rated as one of the wealthiest men in Iowa and he owned a good deal of Iowa land among other things. He was a generous giver and a few years ago he endowed his Alma Mater, St. Mary College, in San Francisco with a gift of $250,000.00. He gave much to charity as well as education.

He leaves but one relative, Father John Hayes, who is a nephew, and who is a chaplain in the British army. He visited here a few years ago. A sister, Miss Ellen Hayes, and a brother, William Hayes, preceded him in death and are buried in Imogene where a family monument has been erected. He was born in Ireland and came to America in his younger days, receiving his education in St. Mary college, San Francisco, Calif. He was quite noted as an orator and public speaker. He came to Imogene from the parish at Melrose forty years ago.

World-Herald, Thursday, February 9, 1928

Father Edmund Hayes Had Long Record in Iowa Parish, and Had Given Large Sums to

(It is apparent that the typeface setter scrambled the text; it is reproduced here exactly as recorded in the newspaper.)

Rev. Edmund Hayes, 76, since church at Imogene, Ia., died at St. Morning after a long illness. He had been in the hospital nearly two years. His record of 38 years in active charge of one parish is said to be the longest in Iowa. He had college in India, paying for it himself. He made a gift to St. Mary's at a quarter of a million dollars, about four years ago, according to friends in Omaha. He met a member of the order of Brothers of the Christian schools, which operates the college, on a train, en-route to seek endowment for enlargement, and without revealing his identity until later arranged for the gift.

The body will lie in state at the Heafey & Heafey chapel, 2615 Farnam street, until Sunday afternoon when it will be removed to Imogene by motor. It will lie there in state in his church until the funeral at 10 a.m. Tuesday. Burial will be in the Catholic cemetery at Imogene.

Father Hayes was born in Ireland in 1852, and came to this country when a youth. He received his education at St. Mary's college, Oakland, and at the Grand seminary, Montreal.
Bought Land for Parish.

For a time he taught in a college at Dubuque, Ia., and in 1888, after a comparatively brief residence in Melrose, Ia., took charge of the parish at Imogene. His record [sic] of achievement there won fame for himself and the parish. When Father Hayes first arrived, there was a small farm [sic] church and a handful of scattered parishioners. To build up the parish, as well as the community, he acquired land, which was cheap and could be purchased on easy terms in the early days. As each piece of land was acquired, Father Hayes offered such attractive inducements to prospective parishioners that the farms were rented or sold without difficulty, and were in much demand. A purchaser or renter felt secure, as there was no pressure brought to bear when crops were bad.

Started College in India.
As the years when by, Father Hayes' land holdings grew until he was reputed to be a very wealthy man. The parish now has a church valued at 150 thousand dollars, with a marble altar ordered by Father Hayes during a world tour in 1922. He never would tell the cost of the altar. While on his world tour, which was his last, Father Hayes established a college in India. He paid the cost of construction and got the school started, then presented it to the resident bishop. News of what he had done came in the form of a letter from a priest in India, long after Father Hayes had returned home.

Aided in Parish Building.
At Imogene, Father Hayes paid half the cost of a sisters' home in 1903, and donated 12 thousand dollars toward the academy when it was built in 1906. His wealth enabled Father Hayes to realize his desire to travel and study abroad. He toured the world several times, and made many trips to Rome and the holy land.

He was respected as a highly educated man and for his absolute fearlessness in expressing his views. Because of failing health, Father Hayes gave up active work in his parish in April, 1926. It was soon after this that he was brought to St. Joseph's hospital in Omaha. The only surviving near relative is a nephew, Father John Hayes, a chaplain in the English army. A sister and a brother, Miss Ellen Hayes and William Hayes, former residents of Ely, Nev., are buried at Imogene. The brother died while returning from a trip to Europe.

Clipping with byline of Imogene, July 2 (year that the voters ratified action of the School Board to construct a public school on Monday, July 11).

That most beautiful piece of sculpturing, The White Marble Pieta Group, has been received by Father Hayes, having been placed in the front yard of the Catholic Church. It is one of the most beautiful pieces of statuary to be found anywhere round here. The expression on the faces is perfect and is the evidence of the work of the most skillful artist's hand, every characteristic being depicteda [sic] as true and natural as it could be to human life. The material is of the finest cararro marble making a very costly group and is such a magnificent work of art that there is probably no other in the state equal to it. The statue itself weighs two ton and a half and at the top, it has engraved the Latin letters which mean Jesus of Nazereth [sic], King of the Jews. The piece of work is the product of the Pontifical Institute of Christian Art at Peltrasanta, Italy. It left the port of Livarno on the steamship, Calabria, May 7, arriving at the custom at New York City the 9th of June and was delivered in Imogene June 22. It will remain where it is located, at least for the time being.


Mills Obituaries maintained by Karyn Techau.
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