Mrs. Barbara Jean Hayes, 67, of Smyrna went to be with the Lord on September 28, 2021. She was born on April 19, 1954, in Nashville, TN. She was preceded in death by her parents, Eugene and Gertrude Osborne Mentlow, and her husband, Jimmie D. Hayes, Sr.
She leaves to cherish her memory a son, Jimmie (Jessica) Hayes of Woodbury; daughters, Tosha Hayes of Tampa, FL, and Norma Jean Hayes of Nashville; her sister, Norma Jean Brinkley; grandchildren, Dakota Hayes, Hannah Foulk, Haylee Foulk, and Linsey Arnold; as well as numerous other relatives and friends.
Growing up her father worked and lived on the Hoover Farm in Antioch. She developed a love for the animals and the country lifestyle there, which cultivated her unique persona described by her family as “country as cornbread.” At an early age, she found her God-given gift and passion for singing. Many times when she was on the Hoover farm, the animals served as her audience as she sang. She used to pretend they were applauding for her and would give her very best bow.
Her vocal range was quite impressive. She had the ability to sing essentially every vocal part of a song down to a baritone. Mimicking any singer from Aretha Franklin to Dolly Parton, she did convincing impressions of some of the greats. She made her life into a musical, performing songs to fit the situation or writing her own on the spot. Coming up with her own lyrics for songs on the fly was a great source of fun and laughter for everyone.
Singing praise with the church at the Sand Hill Church of Christ was a natural fit, and Mrs. Barbara’s melodic voice could be heard throughout the building. She loved the Lord and reading her Bible. Family and friends would often see her making numerous notes in her Bible as she studied. Jimmie mentioned it looked like her Bible had gone through a shredder with all of the notes she had stuck in it. God came first in her life, but there was no doubt that family came second.
Her daughters were the recipients of her mothering love and care. Norma Jean required extra love and attention due to her special needs, and Mrs. Barbara devoted herself to this task. True to her country upbringing and southern heritage, she was an excellent cook. Even though she was allergic to many different foods, she would cook anything for her family. She could work wonders with even something as simple as boiled chicken and make it delicious.
The family will hold a private celebration of her life and spirit. Share memories and condolences with them at www.gentrysmithfuneralhome.com Gentry-Smith Funeral Home, 303 Murfreesboro Rd. Woodbury, TN 37190, 615-563-5337. Because every life has a story.
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