Iris Eileen (Smith) Bayes died Aug. 4, 2017, in El Dorado.
Iris’ life began in a tiny oilfield shack just a few miles from Altoona, Kansas, on March 31, 1937. She was the youngest child of Fred Smith and Thelma (Tannahill) Smith.
As a child, Iris’ fondest memories were of her and her siblings spending time with her two sets of grandparents, who lived right across the street from each other, in Vernon, Kansas. Iris talked about having two lunches when they were there, one at 10:30 a.m. at one grandparents’ house and one at 12 p.m. at the other grandparents’ house!
The family eventually moved to Moundridge, Kansas, where Iris would become lifelong friends with Arlene Moffet, Beverly Rosine, Darlene Koehn, and Max Norma Smith. They went to Moundridge High School and have remained friends for life. Iris especially enjoyed the times she spent with Arlene, Darlene, and Bev and this foursome were best friends till the end.
In 1955, Iris graduated from high school and was off to airline school in Kansas City. Iris worked for a time at Beech Aircraft and lived in Wichita, Kansas.
Iris met Charles Bayes at the skating rink in Newton, Kansas, and at first wasn’t sure she wanted to date “Chuck” because her first impression of him was that he was too ornery and a practical joker that she did not appreciate. But he soon won her over and became the greatest love of her life. They married June 12, 1959, in a small private ceremony, and then were off to Colorado for their honeymoon. The couple would spend 58 years together.
Iris and Chuck had three children together: Julie, the oldest; Vicki, who died at birth; and Kelly, the youngest. Iris was very involved with raising her kids and no matter what came up, she always accepted and supported her children. Iris often said that nothing should ever turn a parent away from a child and she lived that philosophy.
Iris was a trailblazer of sorts by holding jobs that were previously “men only” positions, and she was very successful in retail. She began her retail career at a little store called Oil Valley Grocery and Gas on 1st Street, 20 miles east of Newton, which was owned and operated by Iris and Chuck. She eventually owned her own clothing stores by the late 1970s. She had a store in Newton and a store in Peabody and they were called Bayes Cozy Casuals. Iris really enjoyed all aspects of having her own business. As well as the clothing stores, Iris was very involved in another family business, Bayes and Sons Oil Company. Iris had a quick business mind which she eventually used in the market, and she had a canny way of handling investments.
Iris enjoyed a good hunt, whether it was going garage saling or to an auction, or spending the day metal detecting, which became a great hobby for her. She joined Mid America Metal Detecting club in Hutchinson, Kansas, and served as secretary for a time. Iris didn’t care if she found a precious old coin or a piece of dirty junk tin, she loved finding it all! One of the oldest items she found were Civil War-era musket ball shots used in a musket. She also found lots of coins. It all excited her and she logged hundreds of hours on the hunt!
Iris has three grandchildren: Saje, Ryan, and Isaac; they were a great joy for her. She enjoyed watching Disney movies with the kids and going to dance recitals and various other programs her grandchildren were a part of, and you could usually find her videotaping every second.
Iris enjoyed her life and was always practicing positive thinking in her approach to whatever would arise. She joined Whitewater Center Church and served as treasurer for several years, and that gave her great strength. Iris loved living in the country and looking out at the Kansas landscape from the house she and Chuck built together. Iris sketched all the blueprints herself. They not only built a house, they built a home that is her legacy.
Iris is survived by husband Charles Bayes of the home; daughter Julie Bayes of Newton; son, Kelly Bayes and wife, Amy, of Peabody; sister Barbara Kreihbel of Pratt; and brother Galen Smith of Oak Grove, Missouri. Iris has numerous nieces and nephews and cousins.
A memorial has been established with Mid America Metal Detecting Club in Hutchinson.
Funeral services will be 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, at Burns United Methodist Church in Burns, Kansas. Visitation will be 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, August 11, 2017, at Baker Funeral Home, 114 N. Sycamore St., Peabody, Kansas.