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Norma Lorita "Rita" Hayes

December 29, 1942 ~ December 4, 2023 (age 80) 80 Years Old

Norma Hayes Obituary

Rita Bradshaw Hayes, 80, a loving wife, mother, and grandmother, passed away surrounded by family on Monday, December 4, 2023. Rita, the youngest of three, was born on December 29, 1942, to Lena Irwin Bradshaw and James William Bradshaw in Yazoo County. 

Active in numerous school activities, Rita had a particular fondness for playing on the basketball team and being a cheerleader. She graduated from Anding High School in 1960. After high school, Rita moved to Jackson, Mississippi, and resided at the YWCA to attend Draughon’s Business College. In March 1961, while living in Jackson, she met I.B. Hayes whom she married at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Canton, MS on January 31, 1963. I.B. sadly passed away on December 10, 1966, in a jeep accident while actively serving in the National Guard.

Later on, Rita met Ben Hayes and the two fell in love and were married at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Canton, MS, on June 14, 1969. As a mother of three, Rita dedicated her time to volunteering as a classroom mother, a Girl Scout leader, and a 4-H sponsor. She could often be found enthusiastically cheering with her husband, Ben, from the stands for each sport her children played.

Though raised in the Baptist religion, Rita later converted to Catholicism and has been a parishioner of Sacred Heart Catholic Church since 1968. An active member, Rita participated in various ministries throughout the years. One of her favorites was assisting with providing food and refreshments for events at the parish hall. She even embarked on several mission trips to Saltillo, Mexico, with various church groups. One of Rita's most cherished memories was "singing" for the Pope in Rome, where she joined the Saint Richard’s choir on a trip to perform for the Pontiff. Additionally, Rita was an engaged member of St. Dominic’s Auxiliary.

Rita worked as a secretary and bookkeeper for various small businesses until the birth of her youngest daughter. After her children grew older, she went back to work and joined Canton Public Schools as a secretary. Following various roles among different divisions of the Department of Health, she became a purchasing clerk and took great pride in passing the Certified Procurement Professional exam. She was an active member of the Mississippi Association of Governmental Purchasing and Property Agents (MAGPPA). Before retiring in 2004, she also contributed her skills to the Department of Rehabilitation Services.

Rita loved having fun and cherished moments spent with family and friends. She adored attending sporting events and recitals, baking wedding cookies, gardening, canning vegetables she grew in her garden, playing Rook and dominoes, and seeking bargains with friends Kay Longgrear and Joan Burns. 

Rita was preceded in death by her parents; her sister, Betty Parker; and her husbands I. B. Hayes and Ben Hayes.

She is survived by her daughters, Teresa Hayes of Brandon, and Angela Bass (Don) of Brandon; her son, Russell Hayes (Lauri) of Cedar Bluff, MS; her grandchildren, Joe Hayes (Callie), Mary Grace Bass, McKayla Hayes Coonrad (Josh), Kate Bass, and Jayne Bass; her brother, William ‘Bubba’ Bradshaw (Ruby); and many beloved nieces, nephews, and friends.

Visitation will be held Saturday, December 9, 2023, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Canton, MS. A funeral mass celebrating her life will begin at 11:00 a.m. with Father Wade Bass of the Dioceses of Dallas, Texas presiding. Following mass, the burial will be held at Canton Cemetery. 

In memory of Rita's life, contributions may be made to St. Jude’s Children's Research Hospital or Sacred Heart Catholic Church. The family would like to extend a special word of thanks to Antuwan Shade, Ashley Parker, Juliana Wynne, Dianne Barton and Sydney Jones for their care and support during her illness.

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December 9, 2023

9:30 AM to 11:00 AM
Sacred Heart Catholic Church
238 East Center Street
Canton, MS 39046

Funeral Mass
December 9, 2023

11:00 AM
Sacred Heart Catholic Church
238 East Center Street
Canton, MS 39046


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