Harrisburg community remembers philanthropic leader - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Harrisburg community remembers philanthropic leader

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HARRISBURG, Ill. -- A Harrisburg community leader dies at the age of 79.  

"He helped take care of people and their needs. He cared," Mona Crim, director of the Christian Community Compassion Center said.  "And we need a lot more people like that in this world."

Jim Hayes spent several years donating and volunteering his time for Harrisburg community groups, including the Christian Community Compassion Center.  

"For the homeless shelter, it means that we can keep our doors open," Crim said.

Crim wasn't sure just how much Hayes has donated since the shelter opened in 2010 but she says the dollar figure isn't important.

"He felt he was giving back to the community, and he was helping those that couldn't help themselves a whole lot of times, so he was very gracious in his donations," Crim said.

Hayes was born in 1939 in Oklahoma.

His first experience in southern Illinois was on a football scholarship at SIU in the early 60s.

After some time as a teacher and football coach in northern Illinois, he moved to Harrisburg in 1976 and founded his own car dealership.

Harrisburg Mayor John McPeek has known Hayes since McPeek was a little kid.  

"With Jim, you could always ask him anything and he will always give you his opinion about things going on in the city and in the county," McPeek said. "Jim was just an all-around person. Everybody liked him."

And he said Harrisburg will miss having a person like Hayes around.

Visitation for Hayes will be held Friday at the First United Methodist Church in Harrisburg from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Funeral services will be Saturday at 11 a.m., also at the church, followed by burial at the Sunset Lawn Cemetery.

Hayes' family asks for donations to the Christian Community Compassion Center or the Harrisburg Medical Center Foundation.

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