Mervyn Ellsworth Hays passed away peacefully on July 21, 2013 surrounded by his loving family. Merv left this life and walked into the arms of his beloved wife Bette, who was waiting on the other side with a fishing rod in one hand and the keys to their motor home in the other! Merv was 84.Merv was born on Dec. 10, 1928 in Hauser Lake, Idaho to Lawrence (L.L.) and Ruby (Lickfold) Hays. L.L. was a teacher and Ruby was the glue that kept their family together! Merv’s sister, Helen, came along in 1932, completing the little family. They grew up moving from one small town to another, going where L.L. found teaching jobs. Merv started first grade at age five in a one-room school house on Kalispell Peak--taught by his father. The family even¬tually settled in Pleasant Valley. Merv attended Kettle Falls High School where he enjoyed play¬ing football. But, after he was in¬jured and couldn’t play football anymore, he decided to join the Navy. L.L. approved and signed off on his entering the military, “But not until the winter wood was cut and brought in!” Mervyn enlisted in the Navy on Jan. 18, 1946 at the age of 17.In 1947 Merv met Betty Anderson at a dance at the old Legion Hall in Kettle Falls. Merv always said it was “Love at first Sight” and they were married on Nov. 5, 1948. After being Honorably Discharged from the Navy the 15th of November, they began their life together. They moved numerous times through¬out the next few years, finally returning to Washington to settle on the farm in Pleasant Valley, near Merv’s parents. They were blessed with three children: Gary, born in 1949; Michael in 1951, and Janine in 1961. In 1974 they moved to their current home in Kettle Falls, where Merv resided until just before his death. Merv began working for the Stevens County Road De¬partment in 1953. He became the foreman in the early 60’s and retired after 27 years (in 1980) due to health reasons. It was tough for Merv to retire. He loved his job working for the county, but he quickly became a great house-husband, cooking and cleaning while Bette continued to work.Merv was an avid outdoorsman and hunter. Wild game, veni¬son and elk were staples in our home! The hunting tradition was shared with Bette and both his sons. Along with Bette, his true hunting companions became his eldest son, Gary, and his grandson, Ian. They were a competitive bunch – all trying to out hunt each other! Stories of bigger, better bags enveloped us! And, we can’t forget the beard. When fall came so did the full white beard. With a big belly and the biggest belly laugh you have ever heard, we had our very own Santa Claus. In fact, little ones would ask him if he was Santa! He would never own up to it or truly discount it; he would simply lean down and whisper to them “it’s our secret!” Merv also loved fishing. For 30 years he and Bette never missed an opening day at Starvation Lake. They were also RV enthusiasts, purchasing their first travel trailer in 1969. They took great pleasure in camping and traveling with their good friends and family throughout the Pacific Northwest and Canada. They did more extensive traveling in their later years with Merv’s sister Helen (& Lyle) and enjoyed the family reunion every Labor Day weekend at Crow Butte Campground. Merv was preceded in death by his wife, Bette, in July 2012, after 63 years of marriage; both of his parents and his brother- in-law, Lyle. Merv is survived by his sons, Gary Hays and wife Jan, Kettle Falls; Michael Hays, Republic; daughter, Janine Hall and husband Dave, Spokane. He is also survived by his sister (truly his best friend), Helen, Vancouver. He also leaves behind his beloved grandchildren, Geoff, Tammi, Ian, Angela, Mike, Jessica & Keagan and 12 great-grandchildren. Please visit the online memorial and sign the guestbook at www.danekasfuneralchapel.com.