GAVIN HAYES

Date of Birth

January 19, 1972

Date of Death

October 12, 2021

Gavin A. Hayes, age 49, of Geneva, fought the good fight for three years against B-Cell Histiocyte Rich T- Cell Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. His body may have broken, but Gavin’s spirit stayed strong, and his ever-present sense of humor remained sharp, even into his last days. He was finally freed and won eternal life on October 12, 2021, surrounded not only by the love and prayers of his family, but that of his family of firefighters and community of friends.

He was born January 19, 1972, in St. Charles to proud parents, John and Melissa (Stembridge) Hayes.

Gavin grew up in Geneva and attended local schools. He graduated from Geneva High School with the class of 1990 and furthered his education at Elgin Community College where he received an associate’s degree in Fire Science.

In 1991, Gavin enlisted in the United States Army and realized his life-long dream of becoming a helicopter pilot. Following in his Grandpa Don’s footsteps, Gavin became a soldier, then an accomplished pilot of a Bell UH-1 “Huey” helicopter. Gavin proudly served his country until his honorable discharge as a Chief Warrant Officer (CW2).

Gavin found the love of his life in Christina L. Bauer. They walked down the aisle hand in hand, and heart to heart on April 26, 2002 on a beach in St. Maarten, B.V.I. and began their new life together in his home town of Geneva. Their family grew by two with the additional blessings of their daughter Jordan and son Eli.

No one knows exactly when Gavin fell in love with fire service, but maybe it was the nights he got to sleep at the firehouse when his stepfather, Phil Conley, was on shift. No matter when it began, Gavin dedicated 27 years to his community as a fire fighter in Geneva. He rose in rank to become Battalion Chief before his retirement when his health began to decline. He may have hung up his bunker gear for the last time, but he never left the firefighter family he had come to cherish as much as his own.

He was a proud lifetime member of the “Cool Kid’s Club”.

It is no surprise to anyone that Gavin had a huge heart, but some may not know that he cared for others even as a young child attending the Batavia Montessori school. He often befriended those who had a hard time finding their place with the other children, and often invited them home. His friendly and open nature only grew as he got older, making friends at every turn and in every walk of life. Gavin paired his lifelong friendships with a wicked sense of humor that kept others in stitches, sometimes in spite of themselves. He was a encyclopedia of useless information gathered and shared at every opportunity and strove to live without regrets. He was a natural leader who never commanded respect, rather he earned it through his actions, dedication, and a work ethic that was second to none. That isn’t to say that he was “all work and no play”. Gavin loved the water since he was a toddler and never missed a chance to go fishing or sailing with his Grandpa Bob.  He continued to fuel his passion for sailing as an adult but on land, his energy was channeled into his pursuit of a black belt in Taekwondo, an accomplishment of which he was very proud. No one loved family in its many forms, more than Gavin. His loss is keenly felt by all who knew and loved him. The world is darker with his absence, but his memory shines bright to lead the way for others who will never forget his love, friendship and the impact he had on so many.

He will be forever loved by his wife, Christina and their children Jordan, 14, and Eli, 11; his mother and stepfather, Melissa and Phil Conley; his stepmother Marilyn Hayes; many aunts, uncles, cousins and a family of friends that stretches farther than the eye can see.

He joins in Heaven his maternal and paternal grandparents, and his father, John M. Hayes.

Visitation will be from 3-8 p.m., with a special “walk-through” of his family of firefighters beginning at 7 p.m., Friday, October 22, 2021, at Chapel Street Church, Keslinger Campus, 3435 Keslinger Rd, Geneva, IL 60134. A funeral service to celebrate his life will begin at 12 noon, Saturday, October 23, also at the church. Graveside services will follow the service at Oak Hill Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family wishes that all donations go to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Lurie Children’s Hospital, . You can give online at www.stjude.org or https://give.luriechildrens.org. To mail donations, please send in Gavin’s name St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place Memphis, TN 38105 or Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago | 225 E. Chicago Ave. Chicago, IL 60611. You can share memories and tributes on the Conley Funeral Home Facebook Page, or at www.conleycare.com.

Visitation will be from 3-8 p.m., with a special “walk-through” of his family of firefighters beginning at 7 p.m., Friday, October 22, 2021, at Chapel Street Church, Keslinger Campus, 3435 Keslinger Rd, Geneva, IL 60134. A funeral service to celebrate his life will begin at 12 noon, Saturday, October 23, also at the church. Graveside services will follow the service at Oak Hill Cemetery.