Joseph E. “Rocky” Hayes, Sr.
Born December 16, 1934
Joseph E. Hayes, Sr., known fondly as Rocky and Santa Claus, age 80, of New Castle, DE, passed away peacefully at home while surrounded by his family on Sunday, June 28, 2015.
A lifelong Delawarean, Rocky was born in Wilmington on December 16, 1934, and was a son of the late Joseph Francis and Lucy Hayes. He proudly served his country as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps. Possessing a keen eye for photography, he began his career at Delmar Photography and then became the sole proprieter of Rocky’s Photography, which he operated for a number of years. He would later accept a position as a security officer at the Governor Bacon Health Center, retiring after years of dedicated service.
Active in his community, Rocky served as a scout master with Boy Scouts of America and as an umpire for Suburban Little League. He delighted many children over the past 30 years by playing Santa Claus for a number of local department stores and by making appearances at various charity events, arriving by way of motorcycle. Rocky sponsored, managed and played on various men’s softball teams throughout New Castle County. In his leisure time, he enjoyed model railroading and visiting the Strasburg Railroad. Rocky was a devoted family man and adored spending time with his grandchildren and great grandchildren.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his daughter, Joanna Simpers; sister, Betty Boan;and a granddaughter, Angel Simpers. Rocky is survived by his beloved wife of 59 years, Dolly (Armes) Hayes; children, Janie Dunfee (Wayne) of Bear, Joseph E. Hayes, Jr. (Jeanette) of New Castle and James Hayes (Janice) of New Castle; brother, Charles Hayes of Smyrna and twin brother, Bob Hayes of Elkton, MD; sister, Theresa George of Wilmington; 9 grandchildren, Jason, Derrick, Jessica, Lauren, Andrew, Joseph, Patrick, Nicole and Ashleen; and 9 great grandchildren, Amanda, Braeden, Anthony, Talon, Ronan, Alyssa, Elizabeth, Mackenzie and Bryson.
The family extends a special thank you to Rocky’s sister-in-law and loyal caregiver, Lola Debbrecht.
A visitation for family and friends will be held from 5 pm until 8 pm on Thursday evening, July 2, 2015 at the Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Home, 1000 N. DuPont Parkway, New Castle, DE. A funeral service will be held at 10 am on Friday morning, July 3, 2015, at the funeral home. Interment with military honors will be held at 11 am on Monday morning, July 6, 2015 in the chapel of the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery, 2465 Chesapeake City Road, Bear, DE.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, 18251 Quantico Gateway Drive, Triangle, VA 22172.