Robert ‘Bob’ Mills Hayden, 71, served 28 years in Navy, fully devoted to family and country

Robert "Bob" Mills Hayden
Robert “Bob” Mills Hayden

Robert “Bob” Mills Hayden, of Virginia Beach, died Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015, with his loving wife of 52 years, Mary “Betty” Parker Hayden, and his children by his side following a 10-year battle with heart disease. He was 71.

God called one of his finest fleet sailors home. Always smiling, always a positive attitude. His children picked out this picture of him and were going to crop their mom out of the picture. Bob said, “It takes a strong woman to stand behind a successful man, and Betty is my entire world.” Thus, he asked that she remain in the picture and thought the potential break with tradition would be excused.

He was a loving husband and father, whose children looked up to him as their rock and hero. Throughout the years, he also “adopted” many others who affectionately referred to him as their dad.

Bob was born and raised in Lebanon, Kentucky. He was one of 11 children of John B. Hayden and Sallie Mae Alvey Hayden. He attended St. Augustine Parish where he was an alter boy and rang the bells to welcome parishioners. He later attended St. Charles School before leaving for bootcamp in February 1961.

After bootcamp, Bob was primarily stationed on ships out of Norfolk, including the USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) with shore duty in Memphis, Tennessee, and Iwakuni, Japan, early in his career.

With almost 28 years of active naval service (22 of them being at sea) and another 14 years as the civilian port engineer for the USS Nassau (LHA-4), he was fully devoted to family and country. As the only Hayden of his generation to have served his entire career for his country, Bob chose to be buried at Arlington, so that all future generations can point to Arlington and say “We have a relative there.”

Bob was preceded in death by his parents, John B. and Sallie Mae Alvey Hayden; his son, Robert “Bobby” Mills Hayden Jr.; his brother, John B. Hayden; his brother-in-law, Paul Wilbur Bland; his sister-in-law, Catherine Ann Richards Hayden; and Bob’s special angel, his niece, Julie Mudd.

In addition to his wife, Bob is survived by his son, James “Jim” Hayden (Sabina), of Panama City, Florida and his daughter, Dr. Robin Hayden Young (Larry), of Ballston Lake, New York. Bob had a special connection with his three grandsons, David Mills Young, Alexander Hayden Young and Logan Vance Sitarski, also of Ballston Lake, New York. He is also survived by a granddaughter, Maggie Hayden, of Maine.

Bob is survived by his siblings, Ida Jo Hayden Bland, William “Bill” B. Hayden (Jane), John B.’s wife, Mary Jo Ruley Hayden, James T. “J.T.” Hayden, Patrick A. Hayden (Maggie), Suann Hayden Hudson, Margaret Ellen “Mag” Hayden Kuhlman (Burt), Bernada Lee “Nada” Hayden Mudd (Jerry), Sarah Marie Hayden Spalding (Joe V.) and Betty Lynn Hayden Tatum (Tony). He was beloved “Uncle Bobby” to 28 nieces and nephews.

Fair winds and following seas.

Visitation will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, at Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home, 1457 Independence Blvd., Virginia Beach. A funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, 2o15, at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, 6400 Newport Ave., Norfolk. Burial will be at Arlington National Cemetery at a future date.

Please leave online condolences for the family at Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home.

To view the full list of Southside Daily obituaries, click here.

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