Sara Jane Richter, Ph. D. 1971 HHS Graduate
Larry Hayes lives the life of a living legend of Hennessey. He has been a public figure, a teacher, a coach, a husband to Debbie, a father to Lara and Brandon, a Christmas light enthusiast, and an insurance agent. This month he has opted to retire from the insurance business.
Hayes originally thought that he would play major league baseball, but a shoulder injury ended that dream. He started teaching and coaching after college graduation, but realized after several years in the classroom and on the field, that teaching would not provide him with the financial security that he wanted for his family. He worried about what he would do now that two career goals had disappointed him.
About that time, Larry’s phone rang, and the caller asked if Larry believed that he would or could sell insurance. Hayes laughed and answered “no,” but soon after the inquiry, he followed up with that initial call and became qualified to sell insurance after all. For the first 20 years in the business, he worked as a Farm Bureau insurance agent—a successful agent. He credits that success to calling clients or prospective clients, knocking on people’s front doors, attending company meetings, fulfilling company quotas, and moving up in the company. Then, eighteen years ago, Farm Bureau promoted him to manager. He says that Farm Bureau supported him greatly during his career which has afforded a good, comfortable living for him and his family. Hayes claims that he worked hard, and that that hard work allowed him and his agency to grow. Of course, he says that his secretary Frances Miller deserves a lot of the credit too, for behind every successful businessman, a great secretary, who actually runs the office, sits at a computer.
He encountered obstacles during his tenure as an agent, but he has enjoyed his position from the start. Looking back on his career, he wouldn’t change a thing. The best thing about his time in the insurance business are all the clients who turned into good friends. He has been richly rewarded for his caring nature and businesslike attitude, sense of humor and honesty. People who thought that they had enough coverage, but actually didn’t saddened him the most through the years. The most satisfying part of Hayes’ life comes from his family and the love and Christian faith that they all share.
Now that only 20 some days remain in his working life, Larry’s making plans for the future. First, he will celebrate retirement with two retirement parties. Then, he and Debbie hope to allay their few health issues. Third, they hope to travel to visit old friends in various spots from the Ozarks to Minnesota. Rest “insured” that whatever Larry Hayes decides to tackle next, he will give it his all and do the best he can to help others, love his family, and learn new things along the way. There’s no stopping Larry Hayes.