Clyde Merle Hayward, 94, of Hyannis Nebraska departed this life on September 30, 2020 in Alliance Nebraska.

Merle was born in Hyannis on June 18th, 1926 to Clyde Chester Ole and Myrtle Ester Matilda (Thorson) Hayward. Merle attended school in Hyannis through his Junior year and attended his Senior year and graduated high school from the Nebraska School of Agriculture in Curtis, Nebraska in 1944.  Merle returned home to work the family ranch. He met and married Lucille Ruth (Burton) in 1947 and raised three children: Susan, Bob and Carol. They divorced and he later met and married Della Joan (Jansen/Wakely) in 1968 raising her three children: Lori, Chuck and Stephanie.  Together they added a daughter, Holly to the blended family.

In addition to operating a successful cattle ranch and the Hayward TV electronics business Merle lived a life of service and leadership.  He was recognized for his various leadership positions in the Nebraska Episcopal Diocese. Merle served many terms on the Boards of Directors for Nebraska School Districts #1, #11 and the Education Service Unit (ESU) District #13.  Merle served as Director of the Nebraska Stockgrowers Association/Nebraska Cattlemen’s Association and the Cattlemen’s Research and Education.  Merle was a charter member and President of the Grant County Historical Society, and an active member of the Sandhills Chamber of Commerce.

Merle had a great love of the Sandhills and Hyannis community.  He provided the audio equipment for local rodeos and parades and maintained the airport lighting throughout the years. He and wife Della were instrumental in building and maintaining the community pool. Merle was regarded as the living archive of Sandhills history. He had a generous heart providing care for his parents, extended family and others in need. Merle was known as a master storyteller with an unending sense of humor.

Merle is survived by his sister Kay (Jim) Soliday of Portland OR; sister-in-law Carol Hayward of Fort Collins, CO and daughters: Holly (Ron) Westemeier of Alliance NE; Susan Hayward of Littleton, CO; Carol Chatfield of Kansas City, MO; step-daughters: Lori McDonald of Fort Collins, CO; Stephanie (Paul) Stroup of Chadron NE and step-son Charles (Pam) Wakely of Palmdale, CA. He is also survived by nine grandchildren: Laura, Jonathan, Natalie, Caitlin, Logan, Reece, Mason, Megan and Willa.  Six great-grandchildren: Mitch, Ryan, Trinity, Kinlee, Kavery, and Aviia, and one great-great grandson Dreyden.

Merle was preceded in death by his parents, brother Carl Hayward, brother-in-law Mike Fullan, first wife Lucille and wife Della. Also predeceased by his son Robert N. Hayward, son-in-law Randy Chatfield and granddaughter Sheila Reynders.

The family shares in Merle’s gratitude for everyone’s friendship and role in making his life full and happy.

Funeral service for the family will be held at Calvary Episcopal Church in Hyannis on Friday, October 9th at 2pm. The public is invited to a visitation at Bates-Gould Funeral Chapel in Alliance on Thursday, Oct 8th from 4-7pm. Face covering and no-contact social distancing will be observed. Graveside service is also open to the public at the Hyannis Cemetery on Friday, Oct 9th at 3pm. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Calvary Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 80, Hyannis, NE, 69350 in Merle’s honor. 

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