Edward L. Hays

Edward Lukens “Ted” Hays never ignored an opportunity to help.

He served on committees, took care of elderly relatives, assisted his newly adult sons’ friends in understanding their taxes, coached youth sports, and pulled over for broken-down cars.

A kind man and a fixture around Milton in his neat khakis and sweaters, Ted found joy in things big and small, especially loving music, boats, dinner parties, helping people, and spending time with his wife, sons, and springer spaniels.

He died on June 18, 2020.

The son of Colonel James G. Hays and Frances Lukens, Ted was born on Oct. 26, 1952, in Lawton, Oklahoma. He grew up around the world, as the family followed the colonel’s military assignments. He spent his preschool years in Germany, followed by stints in Texas, California, Myanmar, and Indonesia. The family returned in summer to their cottage in Greensboro, Vermont, a place Ted loved ever after for its beautiful lake and connection to family.

He spent many vacation hours doing small repairs to make sure the whole extended family could make the most of their time together. He cared enormously about family, corresponding with far-flung cousins and taking meticulous care of every heirloom and heritage object that came his way.

In the fall of 1966, Ted and his twin brother came as freshmen to Milton Academy, where Ted developed affection for the community he would in later years call home. He lived in Forbes House, played on the soccer and basketball teams, spent a month on the Appalachian Trail for his senior project, and made lasting friendships.

Ted saw some of those friends every autumn at the annual Milton-Nobles alumni soccer game he began with his best friend, the game that now bears their names as the Hays-Blackman Cup. He enjoyed organizing the game even after he was no longer able to play in it, finding joy in organizing uniforms and referees, taking photographs from the sideline, and, most of all, catching up with younger generations and old friends.

After a year spent traveling around Europe and North Africa, Ted enrolled at Harvard, where he studied art history and spent summers teaching sailing in Maine. In Cambridge, he met Sarah Wehle, who would become the love of his life. Acquaintances in college, they would meet again five years after graduation. Married in 1982, they had three sons: James, Henry, and Elliott. The family lived on Milton Academy campus, where Sarah taught and all three sons attended school.

Ted delighted in raising a family with Sarah. He coached his sons’ soccer, basketball, and baseball teams. He loved every walk, beach trip, and school play, and first volunteered to serve on and later headed the parents’ board that won approval for the construction of the Academy Daycare building.

Ted began working at Ferranti-Dege, an independent camera store in Harvard Square, while he was an undergraduate. He stayed on after graduation and in the years after, taking on many roles in his 35 years with the store and earning an MBA from Babson along the way. While he spent much of his career at Ferranti keeping the company books, he could often be found on the main floor, discussing lenses or sharing a laugh with co-workers and customers alike.

Ted’s work allowed him to indulge his love of photography. While he took numerous photos of nature — sweeping views, animals in a moment of stillness, close-ups of flowers and rocks, and other intricate patterns found with his macro lens — his favorite subjects were always his children. He took photos of baseball games and family hikes, sandcastles on the beach and boys in sweaters at Thanksgiving, making sure the light was correct and that you could see every face.

Ted spent his retirement caring for his mother and volunteering for his community. His mother (who died in 2012) faced a long battle with cancer, and he happily took her to appointments, managed her care and finances, and got to better know her oldest friends.

Ted served on and later chaired Milton’s Warrant Committee, the town’s fiscal oversight panel. He became a regular fixture in town budgeting, lending his thorough and methodical voice to stewarding Milton’s finances, dapper in a suit for his budget presentations to Town Meeting. He volunteered for Milton’s Council on Aging and the Winslow House Museum in Marshfield. He also ran for and was elected to Town Meeting, where he served as a member until the end of his life.

Ted especially loved and indulged his two springer spaniels, both of whom followed him around the house, his adoring shadows. Taking care of the household while Sarah continued her teaching schedule, he took the dogs on daily walks to Pope’s Pond or the Blue Hills, or just around Academy campus, where he could see members of the faculty and where the dogs were a perpetual student favorite.

Ted and Sarah enjoyed vacations to see their children’s lives around the country, going to Oregon and Walla Walla and Boulder and Cincinnati. Skiing in New England with his sons was a particularly favorite activity.

Ted and Sarah visited Europe three times in his last decade and in 2013 took a trip with two of their sons to Rwanda. Ted loved seeing new places, taking joy in museums and nature and food, and more than anything else, getting to experience those things with his family. His last trip to Maryland brought him the joyful chance to meet his grandson and namesake, Edward Christian, born in December 2019.

Ted is survived by Sarah, James and his wife Theresa, Henry, Elliott, Edward Christian, and his siblings (Frances, J. Griffith, and Charles). As Ted valued community and the chance for togetherness, a service will be held at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Milton at some point in the future when such gatherings are again possible.

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