Mrs. Mary E. Cook Hays, affectionately known by many as “Mrs. Wayne,” age 79, died on Saturday, May 27, 2023, at home in Shreveport, LA. She was lovingly surrounded by her closest family and friends as she peacefully passed from this life into the arms of her Heavenly Father for her promised eternity.
Mrs. Hays was born in Marianna, FL. At the age of 16, she met, and then married, the love of her life in Brewton, AL on August 25, 1960. Together, they solidified their Earthly walk with the Lord by being jointly saved in 1966 at a small Baptist church in Summit, MS. In 1969, after moving to Coushatta, LA, Mrs. Mary and Mr. Wayne Hays decided to make their residence permanent and opened their successful and well-known business, “Wayne’s Welding Service,” located on historic Front Street, where they were proud to provide services to the citizens of Coushatta and surrounding areas for more than 30 years. Over the last 20 years, she has been a faithful member of Hickory Grove Baptist Church, located in Hickory Grove, LA, where she has served as special song leader, a Sunday school teacher, and assumed any other role she has been asked or called to fill as a faithful servant and Child of God. Albeit a gifted woman, a selfish one she was not, openly sharing both her gifts in the kitchen and behind a microphone with anyone who graced the threshold of her church or home. She ministered vocally across the region where she sang solely with the desire to glorify God and in doing so, inevitably shared her musical talents for the joy of everyone at local area churches, revivals, weddings, nursing homes, funerals, and business openings, just to name a few. In addition to her service through Christ in church, Mrs. Mary found ways to give back to her community by also serving as the Commissioner in Charge of voting ward 5, precinct 2 for over a decade to facilitate many successful elections across Red River Parish.
Mrs. Mary was a truly wonderful daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and friend. She was honest and loyal to a fault. She will be remembered as a true ray of light and beacon of hope. Her faith was unwavering, and her inner beauty radiated through the sparkle in her blue eyes when she smiled. It is no doubt that she fulfilled her true calling and anointing on Earth serving as a caregiver, in all capacities, to not only her husband and 4 children, but also through the special relationship she cultivated with her father-in-law and brother-in-law, both of whom she happily cared for through the end of their life while running a bustling home. She loved her Lord, church, and family unconditionally.
Family welcoming Mary healed and pain-free, into the arms of her Lord and Savior include: Francis Virginia Keith, mother; James Franklin Cook, father; Doris Rose Cook, stepmother; John Wayne Hays, Jr., son; Kenneth Wayne Sewell, “bonus son”-in-law; William Percy Hays, father-in-law; Pinkie Jackson Craven Hays, mother-in-law; Carl Cook, brother; W.H. Hays, brother-in-law; and Angel Rose Maddox, sister.
Those left to honor and cherish her beautiful memory include: John Wayne Hays, Sr., her loving husband of 62 years; Jo Ann Wheeler, daughter and “bonus son”-in-law, Darrell; Ronda Kay Webb, daughter and “bonus son”-in-law, Nolan; Susan Marie Sewell, daughter; Dawn Odom, “bonus daughter”-in-law; as well as numerous grandchildren, a host of great-grandchildren, other relatives, and many friends.
Pallbearers will be Nolan Webb, Darrell Wheeler, Nolan Jared Webb, Chesley Gibbons, Jeffrey Garbert, Dugen Hays, and Tony Monroig. Honorary pallbearers will be her great-grandsons.
Visitation will be held Thursday, June 1, 2023, from 5:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. at Rose Neath Funeral Home in Coushatta, LA. Funeral services will be held Friday, June 2, 2023, at 2:00 P.M. at Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Coushatta, LA with Pastor Mike Fort officiating. Burial will follow funeral services at Hand Cemetery in Coushatta, LA.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations to honor Mrs. Mary be made to the “John Wayne Hays, Jr. Bible Fund, Hickory Grove Baptist Church” and mailed to 1911 Sigler Street Coushatta, LA 71019.
Rose Neath Funeral Home is in charge of all funeral arrangements.