Frances Ruth Hays

Frances Ruth Hays

Frances Ruth Hays 85, of Belle Fourche, S.D., died at her home, Sunday, June 16, 2019. 

Her savior Jesus Christ took Frances home moments after Pastor Tim, First Baptist Church of Belle Fourche, arrived at her bedside; also with her were her brother, Noel McMillin, Cody; grandchildren Cori John, Gillette and Angie Roden, Benton, N.H.

She was born Frances Ruth McMillin, in Cody on Sept. 27, 1934, the daughter of Harold “Bud” and Mildred (Kysar) McMillin. Frances was raised on the Lower Sage Creek family farm, attending schools in Cody and graduating Cody High School in 1952.

Frances married classmate William (Bill) Hall. They had four daughters: Joyce (‘53), Janet (‘54), Judy (‘56) and Jeri (‘58). Frances and Bill, with their young family, lived in Cody, California, and Farmers Branch and Grapevine, Texas near Dallas. Frances and Bill were divorced in 1965.

Frances married Russell Hays whose roots were in Lead, S.D. They lived in Cody for a few years, then moved to Stillwater, Oklahoma. Frances worked at the Geography Department of Oklahoma State University, retiring in the mid 1980s. They moved back to Cody and moved into the home where Frances grew up on Lower Sage Creek. Frances and Russell became co-owners of the Shoshone Office supply from 1988-1993.

Retired circa 1998, Frances and Russell moved to South Dakota, settling in Belle Fourche, near Russell’s family. Despite her love for and ties to Cody, Frances soon fell in love with the community of Belle Fourche where she lived and served until last Sunday.

Russell preceded Frances in death in late spring 2002. Frances decided to stay in their home in Belle Fourche. 

Seeing that the Senior Citizens for Belle Fourche needed representation, in 2006 Frances successfully ran for a position on the Belle Fourche city council. She served the citizens, particularly the senior citizens of Belle Fourche well for ten years. She was proud of certain projects, but dearest to her heart were the Community Center and the Belle Fourche Public Library. Frances was an active member of the First Baptist church of Belle Fourche and a sorority sister in Beta Sigma Phi.

Frances is survived by two brothers, Norval (Sandi) McMillin, Kennewick, Wash. and Noel (Lynda) McMillin, Cody; one daughter Jeri Hall, Trinidad, Colo.; eight grandchildren, two nephews, one niece, 17 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren. Frances would insist that this list include her childhood friend Betty Stout of Cody.

Frances is preceded in death by her parents Harold and Mildred, her husband Russell, and three children Joyce Hall, Janet Burr and Judy Hall.  

Frances loved the community of Belle Fourche and during the difficult last two months many persons supported her in one way or another. Frances’ family would like to thank the community of Belle Fourche, the hospice services, Pastor Tim and Kline Funeral Chapel.

There are “no more tears and no more heartaches” for Frances Ruth (McMillin) Hays. Frances will be buried at Black Hill’s National Cemetery next to her late beloved husband former Navy LTJG Russell Hays.

At Frances’ request there will be no service or memorial. In lieu of flowers please consider sending support in Frances’ name to the Belle Fourche Senior Center, 828 Kingsbury Street, Belle Fourche, SD, 57717. 

Kline Funeral Chapel will have this obituary on their website with an associated electronic guest book. Family members would love to “hear” from those who would have attended a memorial service. An online guest book is available at

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