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Lynne Whittle Hayes

Lynne Whittle Hayes



HAMILTON — Lynne Whittle Hayes passed away quietly on the evening of July 26, 2020, within minutes of her loved ones saying their tender goodbyes around her bedside. She was born Dec. 22, 1943, to Reuel Daniel Whittle and June Chapman Whittle in Idaho Falls, Idaho, the oldest of five children. She graduated from Lewiston High School in Lewiston, Idaho in 1962. She loved music and repeatedly won call-in contests to identify songs on the radio by artists like Elvis, Pat Boone, Little Richard, and Fats Domino. She also loved fast cars; one day, she drove from Rigby, Idaho, to Boise in under three hours in her grandmother’s blue 1949 Ford. Her grandmother went to her grave believing that car was not capable of going over 60 miles per hour. 

In her teens, she met a tall boy with dark hair, Stanley Frederick “Fred” Hayes, while he was working at the Potlatch Forest Mill in Lewiston. Like the song “Beauty and the Beast,” they started out as friends, but then “somebody bends unexpectedly.” They were engaged a week after Fred returned home from his church mission. However, their romance was nearly a casualty of mistaken identity. When Fred called to ask Lynne out after his mission, her roommate thought he was a boy named Fred from work and Lynne didn’t want to take the phone. Fortunately, the one true Fred was persistent, and he and Lynne were married in Idaho on May 13, 1963. A month later, they were sealed “for time and all eternity” in the Idaho Falls Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). When they were unable to have natural children, they adopted two babies. They welcomed their son Michael into their world in 1966 and daughter Sheila in 1968.

In April of 1976, Lynne and Fred moved their family to Hamilton. Here, Lynne met many of the people who became her life-long friends and mentors, including Jackie Tolman, Jodi Bergman, Mable Welch, Linda Hickam, Linda Sulewski, Diana Matson, Jani Meuchel, Gayle Beck, and others. She also frequently saw her friend Julie Howard who lived just over the mountains.  Lynne had a deep love for the gospel of Jesus Christ and was always serving others without desire for recognition or reward.

Lynne worked at various retail jobs throughout her life and eventually as circulation manager for the Ravalli Republic in Hamilton, but her first priority was always her family. She created a home that was a sanctuary of love, peace and compassion. She was adored by each of her grandchildren, who loved snuggling with her, eating her delicious homemade treats and listening to her stories and wry sense of humor. She had a comedian’s sense of timing.  Several years ago, while at the emergency room, she made a physician smile after he informed her son that there was, unfortunately, a line of people in front of her before she could get her CT scan done. Lynne (who was sedated) immediately piped up from her gurney, “what do you have to do to get to the front of the line in this place? Actually die?”

Approximately 11 years ago, Lynne was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension (stage IV) and given a relatively short period of time to live.  She had previously survived three heart surgeries. Since her diagnosis, she defied the odds, going on cruises with her family and traveling to visit her grandchildren even when she could barely breathe with oxygen tanks trailing behind. She attended musicals and weddings and graduations, often collapsing when she got home. Fred cared for her night and day as the years passed, extending both the length and quality of her life so she could truly have joy in her posterity.

She is survived by her husband Fred, son Mike (Holli), and daughter Sheila (Terry); brother Eldon Whittle, and sisters Elaine Culletto and Marsha Nelson; grandchildren Ashley (JonCarlo), Chelsea, Kali (Hunter), Natalie and McKenzie (on Mike’s side) and Cassidy (Tyson), Brooke (Tyler), Alexa and Danielle (on Sheila’s side), and five great-grandchildren. No services will be held due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She will be interred in the family plot in Rigby, Idaho. Condolences may be left for the family at

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