Arlene C. Hayes, 82, of Lakeland, Fla., a former resident of Stoddard, passed away peacefully at home after a long period of failing health, surrounded by members of her family on Sept. 20, 2021.

She was born July 4, 1939, in Salem, Mass., daughter of the late Sylvester and Catherine (Doherty) Kielbasa. She grew up in Salem and graduated from St. James High School. She attended Salem State University and became a registered nurse. She worked at Salem Hospital prior to starting a family. She lived in multiple states and as far away as Colombia, South America, due to her husband’s education and employment.

She was predeceased by her husband of 52 years, Joseph F. Hayes Sr. Survivors include her five children: Sharon Hampton of Belmont; Joseph F. Hayes Jr. and Timothy of Lakeland; John Hayes of Keene; and Christine Ferguson of Pembroke. She is also survived by seven grandchildren, two great grandchildren and her two sisters, Marie Davis of Beverly, Mass., and Joan Casey of Fairhope, Ala.

She owned Russell’s Hallmark prior to the mall closure. She was employed by the infirmaries of Keene State College and Hinsdale Racetrack. She also worked at Maplewood Nursing Home. She started Keene’s first home health care service. She wanted people to be able to stay at home and receive assistance and nursing care at their convenience, rather than be institutionalized.

Family, church and charitable work kept her occupied. She loved people and especially children. She volunteered with an orphanage in Colombia and continued donating to St. Jude’s until her passing. She received a service award from the Keene Knights of Columbus Lady’s Auxiliary. She enjoyed helping at the Senior Center and the Monadnock Garden Club.

Graveside services will be Oct. 5 at Oak Hill Cemetery, Lakeland. Masses will be offered at a later date. Condolences may be sent to the family at

In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to St. Jude’s Research.