Cover photo for David W. Hayes's Obituary
David W. Hayes Profile Photo

David W. Hayes

d. June 22, 2023

Aiken, SC

Dr. David W. Hayes, PhD, died on June 22, 2023. He was a son of Maylee Burks Hayes and Algie Robert Hayes. Dr. Hayes was 86 years old. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Marilyn Sue Harden Hayes, sons Michael Robert of Greenville, SC and Patrick David Hayes (Susan) of Wadmalaw Island, SC and a sister-in-law, Rita Kay Harden of Dallas, Texas. He was predeceased by two brothers, Robert L. Hayes and Benny Dan Hayes.

David was born and grew up in Mineola, Texas and received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and a Master of Science in Chemistry from North Texas State University, where he also taught freshman chemistry. He received a Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Oceanography from Texas A & M University, where he began research in his primary area of scientific interest - measurement, modeling, and transport of obscure radionuclide signatures in the environment. He patented an ocean tidal sampling device and co-patented another device that built on the growing field of GPS technology.

David served as a Senior Fellow Scientist at Savannah River Laboratory and was appointed to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna as a National Technical Expert and nuclear weapons inspector in Iraq from 1990-2002. He worked with international scientific teams and served as a technical lead for the IAEA in performing nuclear inspections, once serving as Chief Nuclear Inspector during his service in the Nonproliferation Technologies Section at Savannah River Site.

David was a member emeritus of the American Chemical Society and was a member of the American Geophysical Union. He had served the American Nuclear Society as Chairman of the Environmental Sciences Division.

During his time in Aiken, David (“Dave”) was a member of the Sertoma Club. In 1974-75, he and Sue served with another couple as co-chairs for the Aiken Triple Crown, which was then coordinated by the Aiken Chamber of Commerce. He assisted in scouting activities and was an assistant scout master for a Sea Scouts Unit at Bethlehem Lutheran Church. He was a long-time member of the Aiken Downtown Men's Coffee Club, where he freely indulged two of his favorite pastimes - enjoying coffee and “shooting the bull” with good friends.

David valued experiences more than possessions and his sense of wonder and curiosity led to a passion for adventure. He traveled much of the United States and to countries in Europe, South America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. He also toured Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand. A highlight was a trip to Chile, all the way to its Antarctic state and across the Strait of Magellan. He also enjoyed backpacking, camping, and boating with his family. David had an intense scientific inquisitiveness, and a passion for environmental protection and classical music.

The family wishes to thank The Place at Shadow Oaks and Hospice Services of South Carolina for their competent and compassionate care.

The family will receive friends and neighbors at a visitation at SHELLHOUSE FUNERAL HOME, INC., 924 HAYNE AVE., AIKEN, SC on Sunday June 25th from 4-6 PM to remember, respect, and even “rag” on “ole Dave.”

Memorial donations may be sent to any local children's charity or to The Alzheimer's Association of the Midlands, 140 Stoneridge Dr., Columbia SC 29210. Burial will be private.

David’s online guest book may be signed by visiting

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of David W. Hayes, please visit our flower store.



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