Jonathan Bunn Hayes passed away peacefully from this life on Sept. 8, 2021, in the Bear Lake Memorial Skilled Nursing Facility in Montpelier, Ida.
Jon was born July 23, 1963, in Montpelier, Ida., the son of William D. (Bill) and Karen Bunn Hayes of Georgetown, Ida, where he lived his entire life. He had one sister, Valerie Ann, whom he was very close to.
Jon started kindergarten and then first grade like any other child. However, he began to have problems with terrible headaches and difficulty seeing. Ultimately, while in first grade in 1969, Jon suffered from a rare type of brain tumor which killed his optic nerve, leaving him completely blind for the rest of his life. He spent quite some time in Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City and then several months receiving radiation treatments before returning home to Georgetown.
Afterwards, Jon was not able to attend school for another year. During this time, as he recovered from the surgery, radiation, and gained his strength back, his mom learned to read and write Braille, which she then taught him. He then returned to school, albeit a year behind.
Jon was able to go on to finish and complete all his years of school, graduating from Bear Lake High School in 1983. He and Karen were aided throughout his school years by Melba Bartschi, who took a special interest in him.
Not long after graduation, Jon suffered a series of seizures which began to plague him the rest of his life. He also suffered from a number of strokes, one of which left him partially paralyzed on his left side.
Despite being blind and partially paralyzed, Jon was the happiest and most grateful person one could ever be around. He was the epitome of goodness. He radiated the Light of Christ, and it was reflected in his every action and word. The best thing about him is that it changed the people around him; he made you want to be a better person.
Jon touched so many people. Everywhere he went, people…both adults and children…gravitated to him, and it wasn’t because of his disability. It was because of who he was. People just wanted to be around him. He was happy, he was funny, he was fun to be around.
Jon also loved music. He loved to sing, and he loved to listen to music, especially classical music. He and his dad would sit in the house and listen to music together for hours after Bill retired. They often sang together, their voices blending together beautifully.
Jon also played the keyboard, excitingly taking lessons from Albert Johnson in Georgetown. He even continued playing together with Albert on the keyboard with one hand when his other hand became unable to play.
He also played the snare drum in the high school band and one time played the drum in the Georgetown City parade.
Sadly, over the years Jon’s health declined. As he got older, he had more and more seizures, and at one time he had a severe stroke which left him even more debilitated. In 2016, although his mom had faithfully taken care of him his entire life, she and Valerie found it necessary to place him in the Skilled Nursing Facility in Montpelier. There he was well taken care of and loved like family. They always played his favorite music for him and made him as comfortable as possible. Such a huge thank you is owed them for the wonderful service they provided him and the family.
Jonathan was preceded in death by his parents, his Aunt Edra Bunn, and both sets of grandparents.
He is survived by his sister, Valerie Ann Hayes Ross; his Uncle Elwyn “Chip” Hayes (Sandy); his Aunt Julianna Hewlett; three cousins, Matt Bunn, Conn Bunn, and Christian Hayes; four nephews, Joseph H. Brooks (Constance), Steven D. Brooks (Taira), Nathan C. Brooks, and Matthew A. Brooks; one niece, Rebecca Green; and seven great-nieces and nephews.
A graveside service will be held at 1 p.m. Sept. 16 at the Georgetown Cemetery with a viewing prior to the service from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Georgetown LDS church building in Georgetown, Ida. The family would appreciate that those who attend wear masks due to COVID.
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