Arvilla G. Hays, June 4, 1921 - August 27, 2020

Arvilla G. Hays
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Arvilla Gladys Hays passed away on August 27, 2020, at Care Partners Memory Unit on Birch Street in Eau Claire, Wisconsin after a long battle with dementia.  Arvilla was 99 years old. 

Arvilla was born in the small township of Canton in Buffalo County, Wisconsin on June 4, 1921.  She was the 7th of 11 children born to Henry O. Gunderson and Nora A. (Hagen) Gunderson.  Arvilla grew up on a farm during the depression and when she was 9 years old, her mother, Nora died of Tuberculosis leaving Henry with 11 children to raise.  Due to the severe winter weather and their lack of adequate transportation, Arvilla quit school during the 4th grade.  Her older siblings ran the farm while she helped care for her younger siblings. 

When Arvilla was 14 years she met Macie Wilmer Hays who also lived in Buffalo County.  On April 4, 1936, Macie (21) and Arvilla were married.   During the first few years of their marriage, Macie and Arvilla lived on the Milo Hays farm and Macie helped his father run the family farm.  In 1937, Arvilla gave birth to their first child, Carol Marcella.  In 1940, Arvilla gave birth to their second child, Elaine Donna and in 1944, she gave birth to Raymond Macie.  At some point between 1940-1944, Macie and Arvilla moved to Eau Claire. 

For 7-8 years, Macie and Arvilla lived in what they referred to as, “The shack,” at the bottom corner of Zephyr Hill Avenue and Arbutus Drive in Eau Claire.  It was during 1951 that Macie began building a new cape cod home at the top of the hill.  In 1952, before the house was completely finished they moved their little family into what would be their forever home.  At that time, people called it, “The mansion on the hill.” 

Beginning in the mid-1940’s, Arvilla worked various jobs such as waiting tables at the Cameo Room and as a cook in the cafeteria at Gillette’s (later known as Uniroyal).  Around 1952, Arvilla began working at Hutchins Oil Filter.  She worked there for approximately 15 years.  In 1969, Arvilla began working as a cook at Central Junior High School in Eau Claire.  When Central Junior High School was closed, Arvilla transferred to the new South Junior High School.  Arvilla worked for the Eau Claire School District for 22 years.  She received recognition for perfect attendance during those 22 years.  Arvilla retired in 1991. 

For 15-20 years, Arvilla and Macie enjoyed square dancing with a local group.  Arvilla also enjoyed playing the organ and took lessons for at least 25-30 years.   Arvilla was an accomplished seamstress, making many of the clothes for her children as they grew up.  She was also a master of crocheting to include intricate doilies, table clothes, bedspreads, and afghans.  Arvilla and Macie enjoyed traveling the United States.  They also enjoyed fishing and boating and for roughly 10 years, they owned a cottage on Upper Long Lake.  Arvilla also enjoyed gardening, bird watching and playing card games with her grandchildren.   

Arvilla was a member of Messiah Lutheran Church.  Her faith was very important to her and she read her Bible every day until her eyes began to fail her.  Her family takes great comfort in knowing that she is resting in the arms of her Savior, Jesus Christ. 

Arvilla is preceded in death by both her parents, her husband, Macie, her son, Raymond, her grandson, Dean Trinko, her great-granddaughter, Debra (Piskoty) Tepe, and her siblings,  Adaline (Watton), Irene (Norby), Glenard, Norma (Felton), Palma (Sandberg), Newell, Heinetta (Geiger), Deloris (Torkelson) and Roger.  Arvilla is survived by her daughters, Carol (Trinko), Elaine (Schankey), 14 grandchildren, Shirley (Madsen), Sue (Nicolia), Dan, Sandy (Them), David, Sharon (Coley), Daryl, Dusty, Deborah (Piskoty), Denise (Connell), Kimberly (Kostalek), Glen, Timothy, and Bona (Schreiner), 39 great-grandchildren and 35 great-great-grandchildren. 

A private family visitation and service with burial at Rest Haven Cemetery in the Township of Washington will take place at a later date.  Friends and family may offer condolences online at

Hulke Family Funeral Home and & Cremation Services in Eau Claire is assisting the family with the arrangements.    


  1. Lee Shipway September 1, 2020

    Deb and family,

    I am so sorry for your loss of your grandmother, mother and great-grandmother. Everyone here at Peaceful Solutions Counseling is holding you in their hearts and prayers. ~Lee

  2. Sharon Coley August 29, 2020

    We will miss grandma, and our thoughts and prayers are with everyone effected by this passing.