WILMINGTON — Wilmington resident Jama Hayes — a longtime medical administrator, nurse and community health advocate who in 2011 was an inductee into the Outstanding Women of Clinton County — died Sunday, June 5 while visiting a sister in Arizona. She had traveled there with another sister, Dr. Ruth Hayes, who was inducted two years earlier into the Outstanding Women of Clinton County.
“Jama was a great person, strong in her faith and well-liked by many, and very community-minded,” said Judy Briggs, who worked with her for many years at Clinton Memorial Hospital. “She loved to invite people into her home and cook for them … Everybody knew Jama.”
“She was a lifelong Methodist and a woman of faith and conviction,” said Pastor Dean Feldmeyer of the Wilmington United Methodist Church. “I think everybody I’ve talked to has agreed that it’s hard to imagine a world, and a Wilmington, without Jama Hayes in it.
“She had a deep effect on everyone she knew and everyone she came in contact with. … She was everybody’s favorite aunt and the mother of every person in the church, and she will be sorely missed.
Jama Hayes dedicated her life to assisting in the health and welfare of those in need.
As an administrator and nursing supervisor, she helped forge the high quality of nursing care and medical care afforded to all those who needed, and utilized the services of, Clinton Memorial Hospital.
When nominating her as an Outstanding Woman in 2011, Jim Chroust said, “Anybody who knows her knows she’s very caring, she engages people easily and she has a good sense of humor, and people can relate to that.”
Besides her medical work, Jama Hayes was known throughout the county for her cooking and baking skills — especially her pies, which were often purchased by residents through, and to benefit, charitable organizations.
Prior to moving to Wilmington in 1970, during a period she was one of four Hayes sisters working at The Christ Hospital in Cincinnati. Jama Hayes already had 25 years of service in the medical field when she moved to Wilmington and joined the medical practice of her sister, Dr. Ruth Hayes, as an office nurse.
Within two years she began her career as an assistant administrator at Clinton Memorial Hospital. After 20 years of administrative and nursing leadership at the hospital, she retired in 1991.
She also played an active role in promoting a healthy community.
“We were always raised to believe we were put here for service,” she once told the News Journal. “That has been true and meaningful for me. As long as I can serve people, I am happy.”
The News Journal’s Nathan Kraatz contributed to this story.