Obituary: David D. Hays


David D. Hays, age 81, of Cullman, Alabama passed away on Friday, May 19, 2023. He was born in Cullman, Alabama on Sep. 6, 1941, to Edgar Thomas and Dorothy Christine (Hamilton) Hays. He was born the second of three sons, older brother Thomas and younger brother Gary. 

He is survived by his wife Shirley (Copeland) Hays; three children, Denise (Tim) Peek, David R. (Jenifer) Hays, and Brian Hays; grandchildren, Drew (Siusan) Peek, Katie (Joseph) Newman, Cade (Lauren) Peek, Will (Kate, Fiancée) Peek, and Charis Peek, Amber (Nathan) Marchman, Elijah Hays, Savannah Hays, Briannah Hays; great-grandchildren, Faith and Clara Peek, and Baby Marchman due in September.

David graduated from Cullman High School in the Spring of 1959 and joined the United States Coast Guard that same year. After completing Boot Camp at Cape May, New Jersey, David returned to Cullman where he and Shirley were married on December 26, 1959, in the living room of Shirley’s own house, officiated by her father, the Reverend Robert F. Copeland.

David returned to duty in the Coast Guard and Shirley returned to Cullman High School to complete her senior year, graduating in 1960. She then joined David on active duty where the couple traveled from duty station to duty station around the world for the next 20 years until his retirement from the Coast Guard in 1979 as a Chief Petty Officer. Following his retirement, he became a civilian contractor for the United States Army at Redstone Arsenal until his second retirement from Government Service 27 years later.

David was an active member of the Gideons International Ministry, an “Association of Christian business and professional men and their wives dedicated to telling people about Jesus.” David used every opportunity while in public life to share his personal testimony and provide Bibles and New Testaments to those he encountered. 

David enjoyed spending time with his wife of 63 years, his family, and his friends, playing golf, riding motorcycles, and traveling around the country, and seeing the world. 

All are welcome to attend a celebration of life visitation for David, to be held Wednesday, May 24, 2023 from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m., and Funeral Service beginning at 11 a.m., at St. Andrews Methodist Church, 615 Main Avenue SW, Cullman, AL 35055. Following the service, interment will be held at Cullman City Cemetery, 812 9th Street, SW 35055. 

The family has requested that instead of flowers, please donate to:

St. Andrews’ Ministers in Ministry fund at

The Gideon’s International   

Fond memories or expressions of sympathy for the Hays family may be shared at