Pamela Hays

July 18, 1947 - February 02, 2024

Pamela Hays

July 18, 1947 - February 02, 2024


Hello Everyone:

In case you didn’t know, I left February 2 on an unplanned and unexpected adventure. I was packed and ready to head to Wisconsin, with my four dogs and my traveling snacks, M&M’s, Fritos, and Hostess cupcakes. However, my plans changed. Sometimes we have no control over the events in our lives, but we deal with them as they come.

Everyone, including my kids, grandkids, and great grandkids; you know that I loved you all unconditionally. I have treasured every moment we all have spent together. I know it hurts when someone leaves, but that only comes when the love for that person is so strong that their absence is painful. I know you loved me as I loved you. We never know when our plans will change without warning so I hope that during the time we spent together in whatever capacity, you were aware of your role in my life and how much you were loved by me.

I was born in Willernie, MN about 76 years ago to Betty (Hays) and Elmer Altenburger. I had two children; Tracey and Frederick, six grandchildren; Jahmeyl (T), Gina (F), Jahlaynah (T), Shane (F), Jahreyd (T), Jahxsyhn (T) and five great grandchildren.

I have enjoyed traveling out west to Wyoming with my Salukis. They were amazing when they ran. They were good companions. I loved stopping to see my friends Jeanie and Mike in Utah. I enjoyed traveling to Louisiana/Arkansas to visit my brother, Michael, Ohio to visit some of my grandchildren and great grandchildren, Wisconsin to visit my sister, Cathy, and my nieces and nephews. I knew the road from Arizona to Minnesota/Wisconsin very well after making the trip for many years to visit and enjoy the warm winter of the south or cooler summer of the north.

As part of my adventures, I collected rocks for my gardens. I was always first to spot a hawk in the sky or an animal along the road. I loved creating memory gardens, vegetable gardens, flower gardens, and talking to the hummingbirds when they swooped to drink nectar from my feeders. I loved the color lavender and my favorite flowers were mums. I grew many Christmas cacti because to me, the blooms reminded me of my Mom as if she were saying hello.

During my life, I challenged the stereotypical gender roles. My friend, Rusty, and I wore blue jeans to a high school football game and we were asked to leave because girls could only wear dresses. I drove a dump truck, dubbed Baby Huey, and received mixed looks from the men at the gravel pits. I milked 40 milk cows with a grade A 100% bacteria free milkhouse, a feat rarely seen at dairy farms. I climbed the 100 foot DNR fire watch tower to report fires in the area, a male dominated position. I wired my entire new house and passed electrical inspection with flying colors. I operated a sawmill, ran a planer, ran a gas station, cooked, waitressed and ran our restaurant and bar. I used a jackhammer and I laid tile. I also rode a Harley across the US many times. Often, men told me I should be home cooking a meal. I said phooey!

I enjoyed making chocolate chip cookies with my grandchildren and my foster children. Brownies were another well liked treat along with frosted cakes hidden as the finale for the birthday treasure hunts. Sunday morning pancakes were a staple along with French toast with strawberries and bananas. Ice cream was a mandatory treat. There’s always room for ice cream and it has calcium for your bones, so it has to be in an essential food group.

I was the first in my family to obtain a college degree in 1993. After which, I worked for over twenty years and retired from a career helping people find employment and leave the public welfare system. I was also a foster parent for teenage boys for six years and for teenage girls for eleven years. Both were challenging and rewarding careers.

One of my joys came from spending time with my family and my animals. Throughout my life I cared for a fox, many cows, a huge bull, chickens, geese, ducks, pigs, ponies, rabbits, goats, sheep, a hamster, cockatiels, parakeets, a tortoise, cats, a variety of dogs, including many generations of Pekingese. I enjoyed watching my Salukis run in the fields of Wyoming, petting the enormous head of Toro the bull, feeding Leo the tortoise, and being on the receiving end of the affection of any animal I was lucky enough to know, especially getting cuddles from my Pekingese.

I attended many school events like concerts, plays, sport activities with my grandkids and foster kids. I also could be found at school activities held at the schools my daughter taught at. I was a great cheerleader.

After I retired, I enjoyed reading e-books. I would read anywhere and I was never bored, reading over 1500 books. I made crafts and crocheted rugs with my daughter, had flavored coffee with my grandson-in-law Matt, watched tv shows with my grandkids, had long phone conversations with my son, and made fun of the sappy Hallmark movies I watched with my sister, Cathy. I really liked dog movies as long as I knew the dog was still present in the end.

When my foster sons and daughters became parents, I was gramma to many. When my daughter became a teacher, I became a gramma to the classrooms of students. I truly believe that being a gramma was the best, most rewarding job I ever had.

I apologize for leaving so suddenly. I didn’t know and I wasn’t prepared. I was active and healthy. Adventures take us down roads we are not always aware of. On the positive side, I left before I lost my memory, which was a great fear of mine. I never felt I was a burden to anyone, which was also a concern.  I left peacefully in my sleep, surrounded by my Pekingese. Please try not to be sad. You were part of my world and I was part of yours.

I am thankful for the life I was given and the love of my family and friends. I am grateful to everyone that has become part of my story. My advice for you would be to live your best life. Don’t allow others to steal your joy. Do your best and let that be good enough. We are always our own worst critic. Know this and be kind to yourself. Be your own advocate and surround yourself with the people who support and love you. We never know where our next adventure will take us.

With all my love,

Pamala J. Hays

July 1947 – February 2024

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Thompson Funeral Chapel