Cover photo for Richard Hay's Obituary
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1946 Richard 2023

Richard Hay

May 2, 1946 — March 19, 2023

Richard Duane Hay, of Pickerel Lake, Maine Twp., left his earthly home on March 19, 2023, while receiving care at the Veterans Hospital in Fargo, North Dakota. Richard was born in Fargo, North Dakota, May 2, 1946. His formative years were spent enjoying the companionship of friends at school. He learned from the example of his father, Clifford M. Hay, to be a fisherman and to prove that he could be a “guy”. His mother, Gayle Johnson Hay, died when Richard was a small boy. He missed her gentle ways.

He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on March 9, 1964. He was trained in California (he claimed he was a “Hollywood Marine”). Richard served in Vietnam as a Field Radiotelephone Operator. He received the National Defense Service Medal, Navy Unit Commendation, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Presidential Unit Citation and Good Conduct Medal. He was honorably discharged with the rank of Corporal March 8, 1968.

He always loved the technical aspects of communication. His employment concerned the installation of equipment that brought the convenience of the telephone to rural areas, often working for contractors such as General Dynamics, Stromberg Carlson and private contractors in the communication industry.
He met Mary Jane Kochmann in the months as he was completing his obligation to the service. He and Mary Jane were married on July 27, 1968, at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Moorhead, MN. They made a home in Fargo, ND.

Richard’s work took him to many locations in the nine-state area of the Upper Midwest. Mary and their young son, Mathew, tagged along many times, living in 19 different communities. They enjoyed the beauty of the upper peninsula of Michigan, lush locations in Wisconsin, Kentucky’s Ohio River scenery and, of course, North Dakota and South Dakota’s many small towns.

In 1973, the Hay family learned more about Pickerel Lake, Maine Township, and developed a plan to move there. There was a need to settle and the lake was chosen by Richard for his and his family’s home.

Because he felt he could conquer the space above ground level, he built and flew different types of radio control airplanes. Pickerel Lake beckoned: he built R/C boats and skillfully entertained anyone who would observe. His largest plane was on floats. It was his 1/3 scale Pietenpol Fly Baby. Done in red and yellow it flew as he managed its flight. At the controls of the outboard boat was Mary Jane as Richard flew the Fly Baby on a course around the shore of Pickerel Lake. The attractive flying machine inspired action as kids would run down to the end of their docks to see it pass by.

Richard continued his employment in the communications industry, ending as health concerns became evident. He retired from Arvig Communications, Perham, MN, on 12/16/2002. Days were filled with solitaire on the computer, history documentaries and often a trial recipe, including chili.

He is preceded in death by his father, Clifford Hay, mother, Gayle Johnson Hay. He is survived by his wife, Mary Jane, of Pickerel Lake, and his two sons, Matt (Cindy) Hay, of Myrtle Creek Oregon, and Paul (Celeste) Hay, of West Fargo, North Dakota. He leaves grandchildren Cameron Hay, Isabelle Hay, Stephanie Didier, Angelique Bercier, Johnathan Didier, great grandchildren Aidenn Bendel-Paulson, Kaiden Bercier and Alliahna Bercier. And many extended family members and friends.

Visitation: 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Friday, March 31, 2023 at St. James Catholic Church, rural Maine, MN, with a prayer service at 6:30 p.m. Visitation will resume one-hour prior to the service at the church.
Memorial Service: 11:00 a.m. Saturday, April 1, 2023 at St. James Catholic Church, rural Maine, MN
Clergy: Father LeRoy Schik
Interment: St. James Catholic Cemetery, rural Maine, MN at a later date

Arrangements provided by Olson Funeral Home in Fergus Falls.
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Service Schedule

Past Services

Prayer Service

Friday, March 31, 2023

Starts at 6:30 pm (Eastern time)

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Saturday, April 1, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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Memorial Service

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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