Mr. Lee Hays, age 89, of Eagles Mere, passed away on Monday, July 8, 2019, at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, PA.
Lee was born January 26, 1930, in Steubenville, Ohio, son of the late Harold Holmes Hays and Burma Rinehart Hays.
He met his spouse, the former Betty Lou Mariner of Baltimore, and they were married on May 28, 1963. They lived in New York City until 1995.
Lee worked in theater, television journalism and public relations and spent many years as a Gothic novelist. One of his most treasured titles, “That Dark Inn,” was set in a hotel eerily similar to the Crestmont Inn in Eagles Mere. He also authored several installments of the “Partridge Family Mysteries” paperback series as well as novelizations of “Columbo” episodes and the film, “Once Upon a Time in America.”
During the 1960s, he was the producer of “Newsfront” on WNET-TV in New York, a live, late-night news program that pre-dated “Nightline” by more than 10 years. The program’s guests included newsmakers such as New York Mayor John Lindsay, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy of New York and Beatles John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The studio was once occupied by members of the Youth International Party – the Yippies -- while the program was on the air. The sit-in was resolved peacefully.
Lee taught for many years at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, where he directed rip-roaring productions of “A Flea in Her Ear” and “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” He directed Neil Simon’s satire “Star Spangled Girl” for the Eagles Mere Friends of the Arts during the Bicentennial summer of 1976. The production marked the first play staged by the Friends of the Arts.
Before retiring, he was a vice president at the public relations firm Manning, Selvage & Lee, where his clients included piano maker Steinway and pharmaceutical giant Upjohn.
Lee and Betty built a home in Eagles Mere in 1973 and retired there in 1995, where Lee became very active in the community. While he was initially reluctant to join Emergency Medical Services, he became an Emergency Medical Technician, joined the Eagles Mere Fire and Ambulance companies and became one of the top EMS responders in Sullivan County. He represented Eagles Mere on the Sullivan County EMS Council, and was the council’s long-time secretary. He also served on the Lycoming Tioga Sullivan Regional EMS Council. In 2017, Lee was presented with a proclamation from Eagles Mere Borough recognizing his many years of service to the community and also a 20+ year service award by the Sullivan County EMS Council.
Lee also managed the Eagles Mere Friends of the Arts and was known for his wry and pithy introductions to performances at the DeWire Center. He also served as president of the Eagles Mere Association in 1979-80.
Surviving are his wife, Betty; son Nick (Anna), of Waltham, MA; daughter Sarah Reilly (Kevin) of Annapolis, MD; and three grandchildren, Eoin, Esther, and Mariner Reilly, all of Annapolis.
celebration of Lee’s life will be held at St. John’s in the Wilderness Episcopal Church, Eagles Mere, at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 20, 2019 with the Rev. Cannon Ken Wagner-Pizza, presiding. Burial will be private.
Memorial Contributions may be sent to the Eagles Mere Volunteer Fire Company, PO Box 56, Eagles Mere, PA 17731, Eagles Mere Ambulance Association, PO Box 374, Eagles Mere, PA 17731, or the Eagles Mere Friends of the Arts, PO Box 166, Eagles Mere, PA 17731.
Arrangements are under the direction of the P. Dean Homer Funeral Home, 206 Water St., Dushore, PA 18614
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