Ex-Tarboro police chief recalled fondly
By PHILIP SAYBLACK
Thursday, April 20, 2017
A beloved Edgecombe County resident and leader is being remembered fondly after his recent passing.
Former Tarboro Police Chief Danny Hayes died April 14 at the age of 70 after a three-and-a-half-year battle with cancer. Hayes’ funeral was held at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Tarboro Sunset Church of God with Bishop Ricky Freeman officiating. Burial followed at Edgecombe Memorial Park complete with a 21-gun salute from the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office, Nash County Sheriff’s Office and N.C. Highway Patrol.
Hayes was known and respected by Tarboro and Edgecombe County residents alike, having served as Tarboro’s police chief from 1986 to 1995 and serving on the town council. He also taught criminal justice at Edgecombe Community College.
Hayes’ wife Cindy Griffin Hayes shared memories of her husband Wednesday, at times laughing and at others fighting tears. Hayes recalled her husband as being “very kind” the first time the couple met. She said they dated off and on for four years before he proposed to her, a moment she happily remembered.
“He was not the romantic type,” Hayes said, laughing as she told the story of Danny’s proposal. “He gave me a puppy with a diamond ring and said the puppy would need a mom.”
That proposal led to 43 happy years together, she said. Cyndi Hayes spoke just as fondly of her husband as she discussed his love for his family, saying her happiest memory of him was the day the couple brought home their first child.
“He was a doting dad,” she said. “You could tell by the way he held our daughter and looked at her how much he loved her.”
Hayes added the couple’s two daughters have played a big part in her grieving process.
“They have been wonderful,” Hayes said. “They have been my rock.”
Danny Hayes’ longtime friend, Tarboro Mayor Joe W. Pitt, said Hayes was “so easy to get along with” and “just a great guy to get along with.” He added Hayes always had a smile on his face and always had a kind word for everyone.
Pitt stressed Hayes’ personality made him respected both professionally and personally, adding it was that positive, outgoing personality that makes Hayes’ passing a big loss for the local community.
“Who he was as a person made everyone love him,” Pitt said. “That’s the real loss, not just Danny as an officer or teacher or anything else, but Danny as a person.”
Tarboro Police Chief Jesse Webb said he never worked directly with Hayes but did get to know him personally. He said that personal relationship with Hayes revealed a man who had a big impact on everyone he met.
“Indeed, those who knew Danny, regardless of whether they were members of the police department, students he taught at Edgecombe Community College or congregants of his beloved Sunset Church of God, were inspired by his strength of character,” Webb said. “That alone is more than worthy of honorable recognition.”