GLENVIEW, Ill. – Preston Hayes, chemistry teacher, of Glenview, passed away Aug. 19 at home.
Born in Greeneville, Tennessee, he grew up on the family’s farm, where he learned the value of hard work and persistence, qualities he exemplified throughout his life.
He attended Glenwood Elementary School and McDonald High School and graduated from Greeneville High School. He also attended Tusculum University, where he played baseball.
Upon graduation from the University of Tennessee in 1964, he joined the newly formed Peace Corps in the Philippines, where he introduced a lab-based chemistry curriculum for the first time in Gapan, Neuva Ecija, Luzon. He also directed the establishment of Peace Corps involvement in classrooms in other parts of the Philippines, including Mindanao.
Belief in the critical importance of scientific inquiry guided his teaching throughout his 40-year teaching career, first at the Von Steuben Metropolitan Scince Center until 1988, and subsequently at Glenbrook South until his retirement in 2007.
Preston actively participated in the broader science community, offering workshops, attending conferences and serving on a committee to prepare a national chemistry exam.
He often accompanied student summer trips on European excursions and taught several years summer school at Phillips Academy in Andover, Maine.
While many of his students won awards and scholarships in state and national competitions, he was proud of the accomplishments of all of his students. He, too, was the recipient of numerous accolades, including a Lincoln Land Legend and being named 2006 Distinguished Teacher at Glenbrook South High School. However, what delighted him most were notes he received from students, sometimes many years later, acknowledging his impact on their lives.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Ray Hayes and Pauline Gilland Hayes.
He is survived by his wife Judy (O’Connor), of Glenview; two children: Brian Hayes and Kristin Hayes, both of Washington, D.C.; and brothers and sisters: Peggy Ottinger, of Greeneville, Phyllis Young, of Cincinnati, Ohio, Peter Paul Hayes, of Medina, Ohio, and Pascal Hayes, of Las Vegas, Nevada.
Preston and his wife, Judy, raised their family in Glenview. Nothing made him happier that to spend time with their two children, Brian and Kristin.
He, his family and classmates traveled extensively across many parts of the world during his teaching tenure, and he devoted his retirement years to additional world travel, working in his beloved and admired garden and becoming a whiz at genealogy.
A celebration of his life will be held in Illinois.