A positive and resilient artist and Oakwood Lady Niner

Mary Lou Hays

Mary Lou Hays

Ann Rounthwaite

The Oakwood Lady Niners resume league play November 4 and have their season opening luncheon November 11. If you’d like to play nine holes on Tuesdays mornings with a friendly, fun and supportive group of women, call Bev Isley at 480-802-6902. Younger golfers are welcome and may appreciate our two hour golf games, while players wanting a shorter game can tee off from the 150 yard marker in our GEMS division.

Mary Lou Hays is an Oakwood Lady Niner who cheers and inspires younger members with her resilience and positive attitude. Born in Illinois, brought up in California, she began college at UCLA just before the U.S. joined WWII. Living on the west coast during the war probably contributed to Mary Lou’s ability to overcome tough challenges. Fear of attack from the Pacific led to nightly blackouts, food rationing and anxiety when enemy submarines were reported off the coast.

But her wartime experience also involved a love story. She met Jack Hays in high school. They began corresponding during his 32 months as a Marine in the South Pacific. In 1945, soon after his return and her graduation with a degree in Art and Interior Design, they were engaged. They subsequently broke up, but Jack offered Mary Lou a ride one day. The ride turned into dinner and soon they were back on the road heading for Yuma where they married.

It was a happy marriage. They settled in San Bernadino and Mary Lou taught third grade until she became a fulltime mother to two sons, and eventually grandmother to five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Mary Lou’s father was a talented painter who encouraged his daughter’s interest in art. She recalls childhood afternoons they spent looking at movie magazines and sketching the movie stars to develop her drawing skills. Mary Lou has painted in oils, worked with leaded glass and now paints with water colors, enjoying the social and artistic benefits of the Sun Lakes water color group. She painted a delightful series of jesters for use at the OLNGA member/guest day this spring. Delicately drawn and painted, each of her jesters is unique but they all pulse with energy, radiating mischief and fun. Mary Lou paints similarly whimsical Christmas cards.

Interior design is another of Mary Lou’s passions. She and Jack lived in their lovingly decorated home in the San Bernardino foothills for 47 years until it and one son’s house were destroyed by wildfire in 2003. So at the age of 80 Mary Lou started over, designing and decorating the house she and Jack built in Sun Lakes. Jack died in 2008 after 62 years of laughter-filled marriage, and to add to her challenges, Mary Lou fell and broke her neck in 2010.

None of this has held her back! Mary Lou still believes the world is a wonderful place. She looks for silver linings, keeps busy and doesn’t feel sorry for herself. At 91, she continues golfing, painting and appreciating friends and family, just as her OLNGA friends appreciate her.