Anthony “Tony” John Hayes, 65, of Boone, N.C., went to be with the Lord, whom he loved, on July 2 of the year 2020.
Tony was born in Wilkes County, N.C., to John Hayes and Ena Murrell Hayes. He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Sandra Miller Hayes of Boone; son, Christopher Noel Hayes of Summerville, S.C.; son, Joshua Anthony Hayes of Boone, and daughter, Cassandra Hayes Vincent and husband, Matthew of Boone. Tony enjoyed his five grandchildren, Jordon Hayes, Dylan Hayes, Adeline Hayes, Dean Vincent, and Millicent Hayes. He was looking forward to welcoming his sixth grandchild, Nash Vincent. Also surviving is a brother, Richard Hayes of the Brushy Mountain community; stepmother, Ila Dean Hayes and step siblings, Sandy Sheppard, Daniel Vickers and wife, Kristy, Missy Mayberry, and husband, Sam, Robert Vickers all of North Wilkesboro; and brother in law, Eric Brown of Columbia, S.C. He was preceded in death by his parents and sisters, Tina Hayes of the home and Heather Brown of Columbia S.C., as well as a stepbrother, Christopher Church of North Wilkesboro.
Tony’s chosen career path was one of nature, working in the medicinal herbal field including roots, barks, and leaves. He started out as a teenager working for Arthur Lowe Fur & Herb company of North Wilkesboro. In 1981 he went to work for Wilcox Natural Products in Boone. In 2000 he started his own company and became President of Ridge Runner Trading Company of Boone.
He has been a successful and well-respected member of the medicinal herbal products industry.
Recently he was honored to be interviewed by the Smithsonian Institute (Center for Folklife & Cultural Heritage) in Washington D.C. to record his knowledge and extensive experience of ginseng for future generations.
Tony had many passions and hobbies throughout his life. Some of his favorite hobbies include boating and fishing, which he indulged regularly. He had a great love of the outdoors, mountains, forests and waterways. He loved geography and was often introduced as a “walking talking map of Southern Appalachia.” Gardening, landscaping, wild crafting were among his passions. Tony was an expert cook and grill master. He loved music, particularly the drums which he played with gusto. He was a devoted and beloved member of the 12 step recovery community, of which he enjoyed being of service to others.
He loved and was loved by his Lord, family, friends and his community. He will be greatly missed.
A Memorial service to honor Tony and celebrate his life will be held sometime in the upcoming months. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Daniel Boone Native Botanical Gardens, P.O. Box 1705, Boone, NC, 28607.