The journey of life for Jacob H. Hayes Jr., began on March 18, 1933 in Magnolia.
He was the oldest of four children born to Rev. Jacob Hayes Sr. and Zydia Mae Wolf who was the pastor and founder of Whitest Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Camden. His parents taught him to adhere to high morals, spiritual and educational values.
“J.B.,” as he was commonly called by family and close friend,s attended Magnolia High School. At the age of 20, he enlisted into the United States Army to embark on opportunities that weren’t typically offered to African-Americans in the south. While in the Army he made lasting friendships and bonds. He was honorably discharged as a private first class on April 5, 1955, and served his country.
He married Geraldine Randolph and to this union three children were born, Vernard, Veronica and Cynthia. He loved his family dearly and showered them with an abundance of love. He was a stalwart provider, giving his family the opportunity to enjoy the finer things that life offered.
He was a life-long member of Whitest Chapel Missionary Baptist Church having joined under the leadership of his father. He taught Sunday school and it was then that he made the permanent commitment to serve the Lord. He answered his call to preach and received training from the Southern Baptist School of Theology and the United Theology Seminary in Monroe, LA, Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock, Arkansas, Mooty Bible College in Chicago and Ouachita Baptist College in Arkadelphia. On May 11, 2002, he received an honorary doctorate from Arkansas Baptist College.
His first pastoral assignment at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Camden. He was called to pastor First Missionary Baptist Church in Bearden. His next pastorate began in 1980, at Greater Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Arkadelphia. On September 5, 1982, he accepted what would become his final pastoral assignment at Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church in Camden, where he labored for 39 years. He retired from pastoring in 2020 after serving over 50 years of teaching and preaching the word of God.
In 1970 he began work for the Seta government training program. He then worked at Celotex roofing company for years. His passion for community and education moved him to serve as a bus driver for the Camden Fairview School District for many years until he retired. He served as a vice moderator and various other positions for the Ouachita district association.
His favorite bible passage was John 14:1-4, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. 4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.” He attended Bible study faithfully, continued to attend Sunday school and worship services regularly until his health started to decline.
His pilgrimage was modest, but full and fulfilling. Dr. Hayes did it his way. On Saturday, July 23, 2022 he slipped the bonds of this life for a life in eternity. His independent spirit, iron will, and strong character will never be duplicated, but leaves an impression on the lives of those he touched and enriched along this life’s journey.
Dr. Hayes was preceded in death by his parents; his beloved wife, Geraldine Randolph Hayes; two sisters, Emma Jean Dunlap and Katherine Hayes Thompson; son, Melvin Hayes; and a granddaughter, LaTeria Thrist.
He leaves to continue and cherish his legacy his children, Vernard (Cynthia) Hayes, Veronica Hayes, Cynthia (Sylvester) Pickens, and Mary Ann (Elbert) Thrist; extended family, Phyllis Copeland and Kimberly Utsey; a host of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and other relatives. Not to leave out his many friends and the Whitest Chapel and Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church families.
Visitation will be 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, July 29 at R.L. Reed Funeral Home in Magnolia, and from 5-7 p.m. Friday at Whitest Chapel Baptist Church in Camden.
The triumphant celebration of his life and legacy will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, July 30, 2022 at Greater New Calvary COGIC in Camden, with burial to follow at Memorial Park Cemetery in Camden under the direction of R.L. Reed Funeral Home, LLC.
The Rev. Michael J. Wilson will be the eulogist.
A viewing will only take place before the services begin on Saturday morning.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone is required to wear a mask while attending visitation and the funeral service.