It is with heavy hearts we share the passing of long-time Coronado resident Sara Mayhew Hayes. Sara passed away on November 25, 2023, shortly after celebrating her 90th birthday surrounded by her family.
Sara is preceded in death by her mother, Hope (1954), her father, Robert ‘Bob’ (1989), and her stepmother, Eline (2003). She is survived by her brother, Walker Mayhew of Bloomfield Hills, MI, her two daughters, Maria Johnson of San Diego, CA and Hope (Doug) Gelbach of Mill Valley, CA, her four grandchildren, Nate Gelbach, Elliot Gelbach, Bryce Johnson, Molly (Jesus) Valles, her great-grandson, Cain Valles, nephews Doug Mayhew, Steve Mayhew and niece Ann Bobo.
Born on October 15, 1933, in Detroit, Michigan to Hope and Bob Mayhew, Sara attended Redford High School and graduated with a degree in Social Studies from Michigan State University in 1955. At Michigan state she was a member of Gamma Phi Beta Sorority, played on the Campus Chess Team, was a member of the Elementary Education Club, wrote for the Wolverine News and was the sub-chair of the J-Hop Decorations Committee.
While in college, Sara joined many other Spartan football fans on a train trip to California to cheer on Michigan State in the 1954 Rose Bowl. She quickly realized that California could be 80 degrees in January and decided this was the place for her. After receiving her teaching credential and teaching for three years in Michigan, she packed her car and moved to San Diego – soon calling Coronado her home.
Her first California teaching job was at Ocean View Elementary School in 1958 teaching first grade. She could hardly believe her luck but was disappointed when the school didn’t have a view of the ocean. A year later she moved to Chollas Elementary, and for the next three years she taught third and fourth grade.
In June of 1962 she married Bob Hayes, a member of the U.S. Navy and SEAL Team One, at Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church. They soon had two daughters, Maria and Hope, and bought their first home in Coronado in 1965. After 10 years, they went their separate ways and Sara remained in Coronado to raise their daughters.
After taking five years away from teaching, she returned to doing what she loved, this time at Loma Portal Elementary School in Point Loma in 1967. While teaching, she pursued her Master’s Degree in Gifted Education at the University of Redlands in 1977. Loma Portal is where she stayed until she retired in 1993 after teaching for 38 wonderful years!
Sara’s passion for teaching left a deep impression on those around her. In March of 1975 Sara received a letter from a parent that she kept with her over the years. The parent wrote, “Your class is one of acceptance and kindness. You take personal interest in each child. You are always encouraging them to be considerate, thoughtful, to develop attention to detail, and to work up to their capacity and abilities in various skills. Highest regards from one taxpayer and parent who deeply appreciates the opportunity you have given your students.” A true testament to Sara’s legacy inside and outside the classroom.
With her teaching career behind her, Sara filled her time with travel, volunteer work, and social activities.
She got her very first passport in 1994 at the age of 60 and enjoyed lots of international travel adventures and cruises with friends and travel groups. When she wasn’t off seeing the world, she filled much of her time doing volunteer work. She spent 20 years and over 4,000 hours of dedicated service to the community as a Retired Senior Volunteer for the Coronado Police Department. She also loved her time working at the Christ Church Thrift Cottage, whether it was having fun and laughs working in the back or helping manage the store with many other devoted volunteers.
Although Sara never owned a boat, she was a very active member of the Coronado Yacht Club for many years. The club became a big part of her social life, and she spent many afternoons playing Mahjong, dominoes, and card games with friends. She enjoyed socializing over dinner and drinks, attending weekend parties and BBQs, and would be happy to take you to get lunch at the club any day of the week.
Sara will always be remembered as someone who was funny, fiercely independent, generous, adventurous, and loved to socialize. She called Coronado her home for 65 years.
She will be deeply missed by her daughters and will certainly live on in the hearts of those who had the privilege of knowing her.
Submitted by the family