Bernard Dan Hayes, 70, of Tomah passed away peacefully with his loving wife by his side Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017, at Liberty Village in Tomah.
He was born June 5, 1947, to Bernard and Edna (Russel) Hayes in Antigo, Wis.
Bernie was extremely proud of his service in the military. In 1958, he moved to Milwaukee, where he lived before entering into the service. He served in the U.S. Army in August 1964 and took the troop train to Ft. Knox, Ky., for training. He spent many tours overseas in Korea, Thailand, Okinawa, Taiwan, Vietnam, Germany, and also in Alaska and Hawaii. Bernie was in active combat for 18 months in Vietnam from October of 1966 until May of 1968. He became an army installation club manager in 1978, until his retirement from the U.S. Army in 1984.
Bernie was united in marriage to Chong Ye Pak June 9, 1975, saying it was “one of the best deals I ever made. We have no children. To this day, we are still very happily married and both of us are God’s children.” He remained protective of and loyal to Chong, and to all of his friends and church family.
In October 1994, he became a Christian and joined Bible Evangelical Free Church, where he had been a committed member, along with his wife.
Bernie enjoyed cracking jokes and was known to be a fantastic story teller. Although Bernie had a tough exterior, he had a kind and gentle soul. His generous heart will not be forgotten, and will be missed by all who knew him.
He is survived by his loving wife, Chong; and siblings, William (Donna) Hayes and their two children, and Helen (Clifford) Wesalski and their two children.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. today, Oct. 9, at Bible Evangelical Free Church. Pastor Tim Erickson will officiate. Burial will be held in Oak Grove Cemetery, Tomah. Visitation will be held from 9 a.m. until the time of service today at the church.
The Torkelson Funeral Home of Tomah is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences are available at www.torkelsonfuneralhome.com.