A graduate of the School of Hard Knocks, Dan dedicated himself with love, passion and wisdom to his family, Shrewsbury and the nation. As a teenager, he joined the U.S. Navy and began a 22-year odyssey that took him around the world on numerous ships where he faced significant world crises. In those 22 years, he spent 20 years at sea retiring as a Chief Boatswain’s Mate, and forever holding the moniker, The Chief.
Upon retirement, Dan was hired by the postal service and was blessed to be a letter carrier in his hometown Shrewsbury for over 20 years where he was beloved by the people on his routes and known throughout the town as Dan the Mailman. After retiring from the postal service, he took his lovely bride, Dottie, to St. Petersburgh, Florida, where they spent nearly 20 years in a condominium complex where he was its de facto mayor enriching the lives of all around him. In 2008, he returned to Shrewsbury.
Dan was born in Shrewsbury of his late parents, Patrick Hayes and Delia (Corcoran) Hayes.
He was predeceased by his wife of over 55 years, Dorothy (Kehew) Hayes, and survived by three children, Donna of Worcester, Doreen and her spouse George Earley of Worcester, and David, Captain, JAGC, U.S. Navy (ret.), and his spouse Laura of Springfield, Va. Dan had five grandchildren whom he spoiled and dotted on, Hannah of Worcester, and Sarah, Matthew, Emily and Michael of Springfield, Va. He also leaves four siblings and many nieces and nephews. Seven siblings predeceased him.
Dan learned many skills while in the Navy and loved working with his hands building and restoring anything that kept him busy as well as gardening growing flowers and vegetables. Hard work and frugalness were his guiding principles and he preached that at all times. He was also an avid sports fan, particularly for his Boston Red Sox.
Once retired, he and Dottie loved to follow their son from duty station to duty station, which maintained his close connection and love for the Navy. He truly bled U.S. Navy blue. Dan was a simple man with strong, unwavering values, deep wisdom, patriotism and a unique sense of humor that made him fast friends with everybody and a joy to be around. He will be deeply missed by all.
The family wishes to thank the staff of Shrewsbury Nursing and Rehabilitation Center for their love, caring, and compassion.
Friends and relatives are invited to share special time with the family Monday, May 8, between the hours of 4-7 p.m.m at BRITTON-SHREWSBURY FUNERAL HOME, 648 Main St., Shrewsbury. His funeral will be held Tuesday, May 9, at 10 a.m., at Britton- Shrewsbury Funeral Home, followed by burial with military honors at Mountain View Cemetery, Boylston Street, Shrewsbury.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Zion Lutheran Church, 41 Whitmarsh Ave., Worcester, MA 01606 or a charity of your choosing.