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Mansfield native honored with highway dedication

@Photo CUTLINE:Special Photo The family of J. Dixon Hays -Jamie Hays, Jessie Hays, Jim Lord, Melinda Hays Lord, :Marilyn Hays and Julius Hays, along with Commissioner Mort Ewing and State Rep. Doug Holt - attended Tuesday night's Board of Commissioners meeting, where a sign designating a portion of Ga. Highway 142 as J. Dixon Hays Memorial Highway was unveiled.

@Photo CUTLINE:Special Photo The family of J. Dixon Hays -Jamie Hays, Jessie Hays, Jim Lord, Melinda Hays Lord, :Marilyn Hays and Julius Hays, along with Commissioner Mort Ewing and State Rep. Doug Holt - attended Tuesday night's Board of Commissioners meeting, where a sign designating a portion of Ga. Highway 142 as J. Dixon Hays Memorial Highway was unveiled.

MANSFIELD -- The life of the late J. Dixon Hays is being remembered with the dedication of a portion of Ga. Highway 142 in his honor.

A lifelong Mansfield resident, Hays died in November 2010. His friend, Commissioner Mort Ewing, said he and State Rep. Doug Holt, R-Social Circle, worked together to come up with a way to honor Hays for decades of community service. It was Holt who came up with the idea to name the portion of Ga. 142 between Ga. Highway 11 and U.S. Highway 278 J. Dixon Hays Memorial Highway, a fitting tribute since it's near his family farm.

Ewing gave thanks to Holt and State Sen. Rick Jeffares, R-Locust Grove, who spearheaded the passing of a resolution in the General Assembly, as well as Board of Commissioners Chairman Kathy Morgan for allowing a presentation to be made during Tuesday evening's board meeting. Ewing said Hays "dedicated his life to public service," noting that during his last stay in the hospital, Hays resigned from five volunteer positions he was holding.

"I've always said that when people volunteer and they are chosen to handle the money for a particular group, you know they are honest and have a great deal of integrity," Ewing said, adding that Hays was treasurer of several church and civic groups.

"He was a person that you could trust with your life. He was such a kind, gentle, caring person, the kind of person that made this community great for all the years he was here," Ewing said.

Hays was born in Mansfield and was a dairy farmer for 50 years. He served on the board of the Newton County Dairy Association, Newton County Farm Bureau and GoldKist Co-op and earned the Atlanta Farmers Club Distinguished Agri-Business Leader Award in 1982.

He also served on the Newton Medical Center Authority for 32 years, Snapping Shoals Electric Trust Board for 13 years and was treasurer and board member of the Mansfield Community Center. He was a lifelong member of Luther Hays Presbyterian Church, where he served as an elder and treasurer for 26 years.

The resolution passed by the General Assembly states that Hays was "a person of magnanimous strengths with an unimpeachable reputation for integrity, intelligence, fairness, and kindness and, by the example he made of his life, he made this world a better place in which to live."