In Memory

Davis Hayes

Davis Hayes

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12/27/16 05:00 PM #1    

Bob Noble


Years before his fame as a star athlete in wrestling and football at GHS, Davis as just another kid in our neighborhood.  We had a huge field (now occupied by Spilman Memorial Baptist Church) between our two streets where dads practiced their iron shots and all the kids in the neighborhood shagged flys, played baseball, football and "rack the man with the ball." The football was thrown into the air and whoever caught it ran around until he was tackled.  Davis was always the hardest to tackle, not only because of his strength and build, but also because of all the "juke" moves he'd put on us.  His attitude during his carries would have us all laughing so hard it made it even MORE difficult to tackle him.

Later, at Grainger, I remember him for his prowess in math as well as athletics: the ongoing, good natured battle  between Davis and Marvin Oliver to outdo one another in math, algebra and geometry - multiplying three digit numbers by three digit numbers without pencil and paper, constructing a theorem for trisecting an angle, finding the shortest number of steps to solve an equation - sure kept Mrs. Sutton's classes entertained.


12/27/16 09:02 PM #2    

John Civils

Wonderful comments with which I totally agree. We were blessed to have both Davis and Marvin in our class.


12/28/16 11:37 AM #3    

Coble Dixon (Staley)

I have really missed Davis over the years. We started our school life together in kindergarten at Queen Street Methodist Church. He was indeed a math whiz, as was Marvin, and a great athlete. 😢

12/29/16 11:28 PM #4    

Al Wilder

My most vivid memory of Davis is from Miss McClees' 11th grade chemistry class, where he also excelled.  Davis and I sat next to each other and cut-up more than we should have, but Miss McClees liked us, especially Davis, so we got away with it.  However, only Davis could get away with putting his desk on top of a table at the back of the class where he talked out in class for fun and attention – for a time.

Those of you who took chemistry from Miss McClees will remember that she routinely put chemistry problems on the board, and called students' names to work out the solutions in front of the class.  We were all a little afraid to hear our names called, except for Davis.  Instead, sitting on his perch on top of the table, he would raise his hand wildly to solve every problem, and loudly call out over and over, "Miss McClees, Miss McClees, call on me," "Miss McClees, Miss McClees, I can do it."  Miss McClees would avoid his pleas as long as she could to give others a chance.  However eventually, when no one could, she would say in her slow, pretend sarcastic voice, "Alright, Davis, come solve the problem."  (I can hear her saying it now.)  Davis would dramatically walk to the board and solve the problem will little effort.  I never remember his getting one wrong.  He was the best student in the class by far.  And what a character he was!

I think of him often and regret that we lost him so early.  I would have enjoyed keeping up with him all these years.  As I recall, he was still a student at NC State in nuclear engineering when he died.

Al Wilder

12/30/16 10:27 PM #5    

Ashton Watkins

Davis was one of my best friends when I was in the sixth and seventh grade. He used to live in my neighborhood when we lived on Parrot Avenue. There were four of us and we were inseparable: Davis, Tommy Ferguson, David Van Blon and myself. We were the "gang of four" and the neighborhood wasn't safe when we were on the prowl. We would hang out at Davis's house listening to Kingston Trio albums and playing Monopoly. Davis ruled the Monopoly board, wheeling and dealing like a Vanderbilt. We were always doing science experiments, making gunpowder, building rockets, hunting behind Perry's Pond and creating mischief in Mrs. Paylor's 7th grade class. Davis was an exceptional person and I still have fond memories of our time together. Ah, those were the years!

01/01/17 03:07 PM #6    

Steve Skinner

I remember Davis, very often. He was almost as great an athelete as he was a scholar and that's saying a lot. Davis was Captain on our wrestling team our senior year. Davis wrestled at 145 lbs., a weight class above me that season. Like most of the team, we shared experiences, some good and some not so good. I remember him sharing that he played most of the game at Washington and didn't remember it, having taken a hit to the head. I often wondered if this may have had some responsibility for his premature death. Although remembered as a great wrestler, football and tennis player, Davis only started wrestling during his sophomore year. I can still hear his laughter. Davis had a distinct advantage over his opponents. As you probably can guess, it was a superior cerebral approach that few could come close to achieving. Davis was State Champion our senior year at 133 pounds. What is more significant is that Davis dropped from the 145lb. weight class to 138lb. class for the NEAC tournament and I wrestled his 145 weight class. At the regional tournament, Davis dropped another weight class to the 133 lb. level, where he won the Eastern Regional Championship. The same week our Red Devils won the State Basketball title, Davis won the State Wrestling Championship. Davis and I worked closely together the week of the regionals with Davis coaching me on the style and moves I could expect from the 145 lb. wrestler from Goldsboro, who we all projected to make the finals. Davis won the conference, region and state championship that year. I'm not sure that has been repeated since, especially when one considers that they were at different weight classes. While Davis was not physically imposing when you saw him, he made up for any physical deficiencies with superior intellect and determination. I often wonder why we lost him so early. God must have need him more than us.


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