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John Middleton Hays

June 8, 1977 ~ October 28, 2018 (age 41)
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John M. Hays, 41, of Fort Walton Beach, Florida passed away on October 28, 2018 from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident. He is survived by his partner, Jessica Villarreal and their children, Tahanni, 7, Gavin, 4, and Ari, 15 months, all of Fort Walton Beach; his mother, Patricia Quinn of Little Rock, AR; his sister, Meg Hays of Dallas, TX; his brother, Sam Hays IV of Fort Walton Beach, FL; his father, Sam Hays III of Niceville, FL; and a host of aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, nieces and friends. John was born on June 8, 1977 in Las Vegas, Nevada and grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas. He attended St. Edward’s School, Horace Mann Magnet, Central High and UA-Little Rock. Following the events of 9/11, he enlisted in the Army, serving for over 12 years with 6 deployments to the Middle East, before being medically retired. After retiring, John turned to his creative side and began sculpting in metal, using the welding skills he so enjoyed. John deeply loved his family and his friends. He excelled in telling daddy knock-knock jokes. He could speak Southern, Spanish and Pirate. Although John had a wide vocabulary, his spelling could only be described as speculative. He loved working with his hands. His creations were one of a kind, using found objects and an idea. Helping people and being of service were something John did without reservation. He had recently taken a leave of absence from Okaloosa Technical College, where he was perfecting his welding skills, to offer his help to those in need in the wake of Hurricane Michael.  A Celebration of Life was held at his home on November 3, 2018. A memorial service in his honor will be held at Martinville Cemetery in Martinville, Arkansas at 2pm on Saturday, April 27, 2019.  In a poem describing his transition back to civilian life, John wrote, “The darkest skies at my back, grey above and clearing, and it’s calm on the horizon.”

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