A funeral is scheduled for today at 3 p.m. at Calvary Chapel (2401 W. Cypress Creek Road, Ft. Lauderdale 33309), and Derecktor will close at 2 p.m. so employees and yard customers can attend.
“He was a 20-year employee, foreman of our metal shop and a key player,” said James Brewer, director of sales and marketing at the yard. “On a personal side, he was a close friend to a lot of the guys and our customers. He was well-respected and liked.”
Mr. Hays started his career at Broward Marine and joined Derecktor in 1994. He leaves behind a wife, Lenora, and three daughters, Selina, Alissa and Lauren. A fundraising page has been created for the two youngest on YouCaring.com (search for “hays girls”) to ensure they have money for college.
“Many captains and many owners have Gary to thank for figuring out how to, and then designing or fixing whatever was needed on their vessels,” said Nance Fowler, a former yacht chef and friend of Mr. Hays. “He’s done so much for us over the years, we can afford to do something for him.
“Walking around the yard last week, setting this up, so many people knew him. I have never seen a shipyard grind to a halt like that before,” she said. “We are hoping that all of the yacht captains (and perhaps some caring owners, too) that have had the benefit of Gary’s insight and talent, his design and fabrication skills, would pay tribute by helping to support his children’s education.”
Lucy Chabot Reed is editor of The Triton. Comments are welcome.