El Centro is fortunate in having as secretary of its Chamber of Commerce a man of the type of Robert Hays, who has worked along the lines of progress and development. He was born in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, September 18, 1885, a son of James D. Hays and a grandson of General Daniel S. Hays, who were also natives of the Blue Grass state. The last named was commander of the Kentucky Militia and a prominent Mason. Enlisting in the Army of the Confederacy, James D. Hays served with the rank of captain and after the war became a lawyer, successfully following his profession in Kentucky for many years. Fraternally he was a Mason, and his religious views were in harmony with the doctrines of the Episcopal Church. He married Sonora Kaufman, a native of Tennessee, and both are new deceased. They were the parents of three children.
Robert Hays acquired his grammar school education in Kentucky and on coming to California enrolled as a pupil in the San Diego high school. In that city he became identified with the Spreckels’ interests, with which he was connected for twenty years, and rose to the responsible position of assistant purchasing agent. In 1918 he began his career as an agriculturist in the Imperial valley and gradually increased his acreage until he became the largest individual grower of cotton in this part of the country. His energies were concentrated upon ranching until 1928, when he was made secretary of El Centro Chamber of Commerce, and for five years has represented the organization in this capacity, working systematically and effectively in its behalf. He has thoroughly grasped the meaning of modern municipal development and has accomplished much constructive work. He is a member of the advisory council of the California State Chambers of Commerce and a director of the Imperial Valley Hay Growers Association.
In 1931 Mr. Hays was married in San Francisco to Mrs. Audrey W. Smith, an author of recognized ability and a prominent club and society woman. At San Diego, Mr. Hays joined the blue lodge of Masons, advancing until he now has membership in both the York and Scottish Rite bodies, and is also a noble of Al Bahr Temple of the Mystic Shrine. He likewise belongs to the Elks lodge of San Diego and the Kiwanis Club of El Centro, and is a consistent member of the Episcopal Church in El Centro, which city has materially benefited by his progressiveness and public spirit.
Transcribed by Joyce Rugeroni.
Source: California of the South Vol. V, by John Steven McGroarty, Pages 335-336, Clarke Publ., Chicago, Los Angeles, Indianapolis. 1933.
© 2012 Joyce Rugeroni.