Kelly Anthony Hays, 66, our beloved family member and Oklahoma City bookstore owner, passed away on September 14, 2017. He is mourned by family members Dan and Cindy Hays, Michael Hays and Kimberly Matthews, Colleen Hays, Kristopher Wallenbrock, Eric Hays, Craig Hays, Kirk Hays, Nicole Wallenbrock, Erin Hays, Devon Hays, former sister-in-law and friend Cheryl Hays, and former wife Marilyn Hays.
A native of Oklahoma City, he was the son of attorneys DeWayne Howard and Beth Dale Hays. Kelly graduated from John Marshall High School in 1969. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Oklahoma in 1972, he studied law at the University of Oklahoma Law School, graduating in 1977. He served as Assistant District Attorney in Harper County, Oklahoma, and subsequently as a judge in Garfield County from 1981-1986. In 1986, he moved to Oklahoma City but maintained a law practice in Stillwater for several years. He became a court- appointed attorney in Oklahoma City in 1990 and assisted his mother during her illness with her law practice in Britton. In 2000, he left the practice of law to open a used book store, 30 Penn Books, which he ran until his death.
Kelly is remembered by loved ones for his extraordinary intelligence, high standards of morality and selfless generosity, wit, and a robust sense of humor. Those closest to Kelly will best remember him for his dedication to the arts, primarily for his devotion to drawing, singing, writing, and playing guitar; he was normally occupied with working on a new poem or a new song during his free time. His siblings note especially his uniquely enlivening presence at family gatherings. An integral participant and frequent organizer of the Dale family reunion since the early 70’s, he often ran a poetry contest and other good-natured competitions.
At his business, 30 Penn Books, regular customers looked forward to visiting with him as much as to exploring the shelves for books. In an era of diminishing numbers of independent bookstores, Kelly was less concerned with selling merchandise than with providing personal assistance to those who frequented his shop. He will be remembered to bookstore patrons for his friendly smile, kindness, and generosity of spirit beyond his work as a book merchant.
Services will be held at 12:00 pm, Sunday, September 24, 2017, at the Vondel L. Smith & Son Mortuary North, 13125 MacArthur Boulevard, Oklahoma City 73142, (405)720-1439.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the “Justice for Kelly Fund,” set up at Go-Fund-Me: https://www.gofundme.com/justice-for-kelly If there are any funds remaining after justice is served , they will be dedicated to a scholarship fund in Kelly’s name in the Guitar and String Music Department at the University of Oklahoma.