Obituary of Wanda Lewis Hayford
Wanda Faye Lewis Hayford
January 19, 1929 – June 17, 2018
73 Year Resident of Santa Cruz
A private committal will be held for Wanda Hayford, a loving mother, grandmother, friend and devoted teacher who passed away at her Santa Cruz home at the age of 89.
Born in Seminole, Oklahoma, fifth of six children to John Edgar and Julia Lewis. She moved to Salinas, California with her family at the age of five. Many hard, but happy years were spent in the Alisal neighborhood and attending local schools. During her freshman year of high school she moved to Santa Cruz with her parents and younger sister. This move was enabled by the WWII legacy of her brother Sgt. Keith Lewis who died as a prisoner of war after the fall of Bataan in the Pacific.
Many happy days were spent at Santa Cruz High School where she enjoyed going to the beach, roller skating, and her many friends. It was during this time she met the love of her life and future husband Hugh Hayford who had returned to Capitola after serving in the Navy. She worked after school at Newberry’s and upon graduation earned a scholarship to the local beauty collage. An outstanding student, Wanda was hired by Nino’s Beauty Salon located in Leask’s Department Store and thus began her career as a beautician. Her flair and expertise was highly regarded by the organizers of the Miss California Pageant where she served backstage for many years. Lee Meriwether, famous actress and 1955 Miss America personally thanked her, “for making us beautiful.” Wanda continued to prosper in this field and opened her own business in Capitola, “Wanda’s Salon of Beauty.” While there she was instrumental in launching of the first ever Capitola Begonia Festival in 1952.
In 1955 Wanda decided to embark on another life change and enrolled in Hartnell College. She commuted from Santa Cruz to earn her A.A. degree and later transferring to San Jose State University to earn her B.A. Degree and teaching credentials. Her first assignment was at the old Mountain School in Soquel where she taught fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students in the two-room schoolhouse. She was later wooed by the Pajaro Valley Unified School District and joined the staff of Rolling Hills Middle School as a science teacher. Over her 32 years with the school she served at times as head of both the math and science departments. Wanda cherished the lifelong friendships made with colleagues, and students whose lives she was instrumental in shaping.
In her retirement, Wanda kept busy and could be found painting, traveling, volunteering and exercising. Yet, that was not enough and she began yet another career as a travel agent. Wanda loved traveling and she was incredibly happy while arranging trips for her loved ones, friends, and clients; as pleased as if planning a trip for herself.
She and her beloved husband, Hugh, also enjoyed the peacefulness and beauty of the Santa Cruz home they built together, always filled with grace, humor, and pride when hosting holidays and other celebrations. This was equally true of their getaway home they also built in Twain Harte, California. The countless family gatherings, and quality time with those she loved, will forever be remembered as will that twinkle in her eye and her full laugh when she was truly tickled.
Wanda’s legacy of care and concern for people continued for many years as she volunteered at Dominican Hospital in the cardiac unit. The many nurses, doctors and patients that she worked with had the benefit of her nurturing and generous spirit.
Wanda had many careers, but one she loved best was that of being Grami. She was devoted to her family and thoroughly enjoyed the antics of her seven grandchildren and hearing about her eight great-grandchildren. She is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Gregory and Yi-Yen Hayford of Bonny Doon; her daughter and son-in-law Robin and David Ove of Felton, and grandchildren; Scotlan Hayford, Ryan Hayford, Melissa Hayford Finsthwait, Tyler Hayford, Adrianne Ove, Brandon Ove, and Eric Ove and their families’. Wanda was preceded in death by her husband Hugh Hayford in 2008 and she missed him every remaining day of her life. She also thought often of her beloved parents John Edgar and Julia Lewis and her siblings; Theda, Nothwang, Keith, Janna, and Juledra who have all gone before her.
A private cremation and committal is under the direction of Benito and Azzaro Pacific Gardens Chapel. Any kind acts of charity can be made in her memory to either Hospice of Santa Cruz or Dominican Hospital Foundation. Wanda and the family would also like to thank our wonderful caregivers, Maria, Mayra, and Jasmine whose love and tender attention made these days a comfort.
Please visit the Benito and Azzaro homepage to share your memory or reflection of Wanda with her family.