The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

Robert Hayden



Sept 10, 1931 to March 16, 2014   

Robert Ray Hayden passed away on March 16, 2014 in the Klickitat Valley Hospital.

Robert was a United States Navy Korean War Veteran from 1950-1954, battle ship USS Mansfield-728. He received the following service medals: Occupational Citation, Korean Campaign, National Defense, United Nations Defense, China Service and Korean Republic Presidential Defense Commendation, and received the Navy Unit Citation patch and the Presidential Commendation patch. Robert chose to go in the Navy at the tender age of 19, where he learned to be an expert scuba diver and an underwater demo expert, which he had to be for all his missions as they were in the middle of the night behind enemy lines. They were sent out with NO dog tags and no way to trace them back to the military if they were captured by the enemy. He served with a damage control diving unit off the coast of Korea. When demolition orders were given to select teams, Robert and his team were called to duty. Lives were lost from his team; but he survived those missions. Memories of his war times stayed with him until his passing. It took 50 years to receive his medals, as the military had to wait until the missions were declassified. Robert's sister Ginny says that when he decided to join the Navy he was tall and thin, didn't weigh enough, so he ate bananas until he was heavy enough.

When Robert got out of the Navy he went to Anaconda, Mont., where he worked on a coal train and also trained to be a pilot.

Robert shared a business with his brother Edward, Hayden Plumbing and Electric, and worked as a maintenance man for the Goldendale School District, where he worked until he retired.

Being an expert scuba diver, he was often called on by local authorities to retrieve a body from underwater.

For those who knew Robert:

Jokes - if he knew one he knew hundreds; seldom telling the same one twice, unless asked to hear it again.

His laugh was infectious, sometimes mischievous, you never knew for sure.

Back hoe work – If you needed something done call Robert. He enjoyed doing back hoe work and was good at it, it gave him a purpose.

Demolitions – If you needed something done, because of his expertise, he was the one to call to get the job done without incident.

Robert loved the outdoors, camping, hunting, fishing, and diving for old bottles.

He and his late wife Sherri loved to go rock hunting for agates to make into jewelry.

Robert was always hiding around corners with his video camera to catch people unaware. I'm sure he laughed his hiney off when he caught someone in action.

From The Goldendale Sentinel archives, 1938 – Children's Xmas wish list; Robert was 7 years old. "Dear Santa Claus, I want a wind up truck. I want a wind up tractor and a wind up train. I want a wagon too. For Virginia (age 1 1/2 yrs.) bring a rattle, a ball and a teddy bear."

No one can recall him having a bad word to say about anybody. He once said "Everyone has a good spot, just focus on that."

His niece Brenda, says he always looked like President Lincoln to her.

He is preceded in death by his parents Hazel and Clifford 'Rabbit' Hayden; siblings, Clara Owens, Barb Hayden, Marjorie Torson, Grace Tower, George, Edward and his beloved wife Sharon Beeks Hayden.

He is survived by his son Bobby Hayden of Pendleton, Ore., and three sisters; Virginia Rainey of Florida, Annabelle Fleming and Jeaunnette Bussler both of Omak, Wash. He has numerous nieces and nephews with families of their own and the numbers keep growing.

We will miss him greatly, family and friends.

He will be laid to rest beside his beloved wife Sherri. Graveside service sometime in the summer, date not yet set.


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