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Farewell to Charles Kenneth Hayden

Video, Photos by Scott Engle / Story by Jamie Nash

Hundreds gathered in Cleveland Tuesday morning to say goodbye to Charles Kenneth Hayden and to celebrate his life.

Mr. Hayden, affectionately known as “Big Guy,” left this world Sunday at the age of 73, but he will live on for generations to come because of his contributions to Montgomery County and the loving generosity he showed his family and so many others.

The standing-room-only crowd spilled out into the foyer and adjacent rooms of the funeral home for the unusual service that began with longtime Precinct 4 Commissioner Ed Rinehart sharing his memories of Charles Hayden. Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace James Metts did the same, along with Hayden’s pastor and some of his family members. The stories had people nodding and smiling through their tears.

Charles Hayden loved his family, law enforcement and Kubota tractors. All were celebrated in various ways throughout the service. His pallbearers wore shirts that matched his trademark white shirt with pearl snap buttons.  His casket spray had a tractor on top, and the family ordered Kubota orange-colored flowers in that and several of the arrangements.

The badges Charles Hayden wore during his various service in law enforcement were displayed in a frame, but his service was more evident by the many members of law enforcement attending the service. They wore uniforms and badges from agencies that spanned from Liberty County to the other side of Montgomery County.  Montgomery County District Attorney, Brett Ligon, was also in attendance.

In 2010 Charles Hayden’s son, Precinct 4 Constable Kenneth “Rowdy” Hayden, presented the first Constable Charles Hayden Scholarship to a graduating senior in Precinct 4 who studied criminal justice. It was meant to honor Charles Hayden’s service and his devotion to encouraging young people to pursue careers in law enforcement.

But when Charles Hayden spoke to MCPR about it, he did not say much about himself. He spoke more about his only son, who followed in footsteps, joining law enforcement while he was still a teenager.

“I’m very proud of the work he’s doing in the community and in law enforcement,” Charles Hayden said of his son, Rowdy, who he lived to see hold the same position that meant so much to him. He attended all of his son’s events, even when it had to be in a wheelchair and he beamed with pride each time. There was never a doubt in anyone’s mind that the respect between father and son was mutual.

Charles Hayden was also a member of the Sam B. Crawford Masonic Lodge #1418, and many of his lodge brothers attended the service, including Worshipful Master and Roman Forest Police Chief Stephen Carlisle.

Charles Hayden and his wife, Jerry Sue, raised their close-knit family in East Montgomery County, where many of them have also gained the community’s respect in their own right. Although everyone knew his time had grown short, many were visibly distraught at the finality of saying goodbye to “Big Guy.”

It’s an old cliché, but it is also appropriate to say Charles Hayden is gone, but he will not be forgotten.

Click here to read the original article with more information regarding Mr. Hayden’s public service



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