September 10, 2016
Date of Service: September 15, 2016
Interment Location: Masonic Section
Kenneth W. Hayes, 78, Elizabethton, passed away Saturday, September 10, 2016 at his residence. He was a native of Carter County and son of the late James P. Hayes, Sr. and Stella “Bun” Johnson Hayes.
In addition to his parents, Kenneth was preceded in death by his brother, James P. Hayes, Jr., sister-in-law, Virginia B. Hayes, niece, Cheryl Hayes, mother and father-in-law, Anderson and Luda Lyons.
He was a member of Oak Grove Christian Church in Elizabethton. He was past President of the Tennessee Motorcycle Dealers Association. Ken was a lifetime member of the American Motorcycle Association.
Ken was the owner of Jim’s Motorcycle Sales of Johnson City since 1965. A business, his father Jim, Sr., started in October of 1937 with an Indian motorcycle franchise.
A graduate of Happy Valley High School in 1956, he was a standout baseball player at the shortstop position. Ken was referred to as “major” by many. He played for legendary coach Charlie Bayless and was later inducted into the Happy Valley High School Hall of Fame.
He started his professional motorcycle racing career with the Tennessee State Scrambles Championship in 1958 and continued into professional flat track racing and road racing, racing beside his brother, Jim, Jr. They were always a threat to run 1st and 2nd at any track they went to. Winning flat track and scrambles championships in the south east and north east were common for the “Hayes boys”. In road racing, Ken was very skilled and won the Championship Road race in Marlboro, MD and Laconia, NH in 1963, and followed that up by winning the 100 miler in Daytona in 1964. Continuing his professional racing career until March of 1967 when he was badly injured at the Daytona short track. After getting healed up, Ken started into motocross in 1969, and again alongside brother, Jim, Jr., were the men to beat in the 250 and open expert classes. Ken was paralyzed from the chest down in a motocross accident on November 17, 1991.
While being confined to a wheelchair, showing his grit and determination, he came back to work and ran the dealership until his passing. He mentored many, many people and was an inspiration to all who were around him. A man’s Man he never complained about his situation, or tried to pass blame. As he said many times, ”If I could get out of this chair, I could give em all they want at the track on Sunday”.
If you listen close to the sky, you may just hear the sounds of Ken on his Norton, and Jim, Jr. on his BSA Hornet, screaming down the straightaway towards the white flag for ”one more go” as they race each other hard to another 1-2 finish.
Those left to cherish Kenneth’s memory include his wife of fifty eight years, Wilma Rhea Lyons Hayes, son, Kirk Hayes and Jerri Sue Peeks, brother, Tommy Hayes and his wife Paula, nieces and nephews: Tara Hayes, Lindsey Hayes, James P. “Jay” Hayes (his son, Evan Hayes), Bobbie Marie Phillips (her husband Dennis, and their son, James), Lee “Andy” Mottern, Charles Mottern (his wife Darlene), Thomas Mottern, David Mottern, and special niece, Leesa Mottern; great niece, Haylea Watson, sister-in-laws: Billie Jo Hayase, and Louise Puckett.
Kenneth’s family asked that in lieu of flowers donations be sent to either East Tennessee Christian Home 517 Allen Ave Elizabethton TN 37643 or to any East Tennessee Animal Shelter.
The family will greet friends to share memories on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 from 4:00 PM until a Celebration of Kenneth’s Life at 7:00 PM in the Sunrise Chapel of Tetrick Funeral and Cremation Services Johnson City with Dr. Ted Thomas, Reverend Gary Edwards, and Kathy Jo Buck officiating. A Graveside and Committal Service will be held at Happy Valley Memorial Park with Mike Taylor officiating at 11:00 AM on Thursday. Active pallbearers will be Keith Hensley, Jeff Williams, Mark Edens, Mike Brown, Berney Brown, Lee King, Mack Cook, Joe Gouge, Jeff Chambers, and Mike Taylor. Honorary pallbearers will be Harry Stout, Jimmy “Dog” Harrison, Billy Warren, Bill Adams, Charles Boruff, Lee Talbert, Freddie Deakins, Dan King, T.J. Osborne, Ron Martin, Fabio Cintra, Bill Gage, Jeff Lane, Brett Larimer, Jim Culp, Burl Cavin, Mark Bowery and all past and present employees, and customers of Jims’s Motorcycles. Everyone is asked to meet at the funeral home on Thursday by 10:15 AM to go in procession to the cemetery.
The family would like to offer a special thank you to the staff at ETSU Physicians, Caris Hospice, West Towne Pharmacy, and The Wound Care Center, especially Trea Roberson.
Memories and condolences may be shared at www.tetrickfuneralhome.com. Tetrick Funeral and Cremation Services, 3001 Peoples Street, Johnson City, TN 37604 (423) 610-7171 is honored to serve the Hayes family during this difficult time.