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Tuskegee Airman Lee A. Hayes, of East Hampton, Dies at 91

Hayes was among the first African-Americans who became bomber pilots during World War II.

Lee Hayes Credit: Daniel Gonzalez
Lee Hayes Credit: Daniel Gonzalez
Lee A. Hayes, a Tuskegee Airman and bomber pilot during World War II and an East Hampton resident most of his life, died at home on Wednesday. He was 91.

Hayes was among the group of African-American pilots who broke through the military’s color barrier during World War II. In 2012, the Suffolk County Historical Society honored Hayes during a photo exhibit celebrating the contributions of Hayes and the Tuskegee airmen.

A funeral service will be held at Calvary Baptist Church in East Hampton on Monday at 10 a.m., followed by interment at Calverton National Cemetery, according to Yardley & Pino Funeral Home in East Hampton. No visiting hours have been scheduled.

Hayes is survived by his children Karlys Johnson and Craig Hayes; a grandson, Barry Johnson; a granddaughter Crystal Hayes; and great grandchildren Connor, Yori, and Nuelle Johnson.

A full obituary will appear at a later date. 

Please remember Mr. Hayes by sharing your memories of him or leave condolences for his family in the comments below. 
Marilynn Schaefer December 04, 2013 at 07:34 PM
Lee was a fellow veteran of my late husband, Len Schaefer. I was so amazed to hear the stories they shared with one another about their WWII experiences. I learned so much from these two, realized how much they sacrificed to build up this country. True heroes. May Lee now rest in peace.
Denise Parker December 04, 2013 at 08:45 PM
I'm very proud of my Uncle Lee. He was a great man not just historically but as a father, uncle, brother, husband. He, my dad, James Hayes and Uncle Willie started their own company when it wasn't the easiest thing to do. Proud to be a Hayes? Love you Uncle Lee. Prayers to Karlys, Craig & Barry. Love Denise.
jdartsalso December 05, 2013 at 12:32 AM
Lee was an excellent man from an excellent family who are so much a part of the fabric of the East Hampton I grew up in. I learned that he was a Tuskegee Airman after years and years of knowing him when he was interviewed I think on LTV or by the East Hampton Star. That achievement, at that time in the racial history of America, is singular and something that can never be taken away from him or his family. He served his country as an airman and as a Civil Rights pioneer at the same time. When we think of Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King, Jr, we should also think of LEE HAYES and the Tuskegee Airmen. Now he has a new pair of well-deserved wings! God rest his soul and my condolences to the family.
LR December 05, 2013 at 06:01 AM
True heroes. May God watch over him now as he watched over us.
MARTIN DREW December 05, 2013 at 08:26 AM
Condolences to his family . A inspiring man indeed . Mr. Hayes is to be remembered as a hero to us all .
paula Shengold December 05, 2013 at 09:55 AM
Lee Hayes was a guest speaker at The Catch A Star Literary Luncheon in Greenport, hosted by Congregation Tifereth Israel a few years ago. He was charming. He told his stories in a very matter of Fact way that allowed the audience an opportunity to applaud his bravery and sincerity. It was an honor to have had him as a guest.
Gabe Gonsalves December 10, 2013 at 02:18 PM
Thank you for your service....it was an honor to read about you.

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