On the afternoon of August 27, 2022, Mary Margaret (Rogers) Hays, age 89, passed away with her family by her side due to a long illness. 

Mary Hays was born on September 9, 1932, and was raised in Michigan. She was the first child of Albert and Mabel Rogers. Mary went to nursing school right after high school to become a registered nurse

After becoming a registered nurse, Mary had the California dream, packed up all she owned and drove all the way from Michigan to California by herself in an old car to make that dream happen! She lived in an apartment above a business of what is known as the 3rd Street Promenade with some friends she knew back in Michigan who also shared her dream. 

She first worked as a nurse at the UCLA campus in Los Angeles, and then worked at the local Santa Monica Hospital for the remainder of her career. She received an award in the 1980’s for being in charge of their AIDS wing at Santa Monica Hospital, and was a very dedicated nurse for more than 40 years retiring in 2000. 

She met her husband, Donald F. Hays at St. Monica Catholic church, in the singles group called “The Damian Club ‘’ and they were married at the church on November 14, 1959. Their daughters both attended St. Monica Catholic School and were also married there, and Mary was a dedicated volunteer at St Monica’s, the favorite Girl Scout leader, and was always seen on hot lunch days, Pioneer Days and their annual Ice Cream Socials. Mary and Don kept in touch throughout their lives with all of their lifelong friends in Santa Monica. They also attended the reunions of “The Damian Club” until her husband’s death. 

Mary and Don were very well known in the Santa Monica community and remember their town as being called, “A sleepy little town.” Mary continued to be very active with the women’s group at St. Monica Church, and did her part to contribute to their boutique which all proceeds went to support the church. She also volunteered preparing food at the local homeless shelter in Santa Monica for years, until she was unable to do so due to her health. 

She is described as being a friend toe everyone and she was always taking care of everyone in her family, and anyone who needed help including offering her vast medical knowledge. 

She had a deep love of family and her beloved Santa Monica community where she lived in the same house in Santa Monica for over 58 years. Her dedication to her job at Santa Monica Hospital as a registered nurse made her well known throughout the community and when we would take her into town most people we ran into knew mom and thanked her for caring for their loved ones over the years. 

Mary was preceded in death by her husband of 57 years, Donald F. Hays in 2016, her sister Susan Bertrand, and brother John Rogers. She is survived by her sister Anna Havrilla, daughters Mary Anne Gehret (Tom), Catherine Jesse (Stephen), grandchildren Brandon Gehret, Kristina Gehret Hanrahan (Ryan), Austen Jesse (Luisa), Alexandria Jesse Murphy (Thomas), Nicholas Jesse and great-granddaughters Siena Hanrahan and Maeve Murphy. Funeral services have not been announced but will be held at St. Monica’s. All donations can be made to “Turning Point “ 1447 16th St., Santa Monica.

SMDP Staff