Development & Alumni Relations Office 

Henry Desmond Hayes, MB BCh BAO (died 18 January 2019, aged 87)

Obituary provided by Hayes family.

Henry Desmond Hayes passed peacefully surrounded by family in his home in Norfolk, Virginia on 18 January 2019.

Dr Hayes was born in County Cork, Ireland in 1931 as the first of three sons to the Rev. William Henry Hayes and Gladys Pedlow Hayes. He was blessed with a loving 59-year marriage to his late wife, Cambrai Lille Davis of Ballyroney, Northern Ireland - a beautiful nurse of indomitable spirit whom he met and married as a medical resident at Ards Hospital in Newtownards in the 1950s and with whom he is now reunited in heaven.

Dr Hayes was a graduate of the Methodist College (Methody) and Queen’s University Belfast (1954) and entered the practice of medicine in Ireland in 1955. He and Cambrai left their beloved parents and siblings in Northern Ireland to move to Virginia in the late 1950s, joining close friends from medical school, first living in Petersburg and settling in Norfolk in 1963.

Over a 45-year career practicing family medicine and geriatrics in Norfolk and serving on the faculties of Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) and Old Dominion University (ODU), Dr Hayes cared for many patients and their families, and taught and mentored many students, residents, and interns.

Dr Hayes was the founding Director of Ghent Family Practice and the EVMS family medicine residency programme. The commitment of Dr Hayes and his colleagues to improve geriatric expertise in Hampton Roads and nationally, resulted in the establishment of the Glennan Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology and a requisite fourth year geriatric clerkship for medical students at EVMS.

In 1999, EVMS honoured Dr Hayes with the Dean’s Faculty Achievement Award for Achievement in Teaching or Clinical Service. As one colleague so aptly said, Dr Hayes “represents to our students and to the community the epitome of a learned and caring physician and human being”.

Patient care was paramount to Dr Hayes. He had high expectations of himself and those around him and as noted by a former resident, emphasized the importance of understanding the patient’s life and family and treating patients in ways “just not amenable to the prescription pad”.

His numerous leadership positions included service as the President of Medical Staff at Leigh Memorial Hospital and later of the Medical Center Hospitals in Norfolk, Director of Geriatrics at EVMS, the EVMS Admissions Committee and the Appointments and Promotions Committee, Glennan Center and EVMS Dean’s Advisory Boards, the United Way, the Salvation Army, the Larchmont United Methodist Church Administrative Board, and President of the Tidewater Academy of Family Physicians. He was very proud to be a naturalised citizen of the United States.

Des, as his friends fondly called him, enjoyed and his life was enriched by, waterfront life on the Elizabeth River in Norfolk, Norfolk Academy, golf, ODU basketball and football, the Redskins, visiting family in Northern Ireland, Larchmont United Methodist Church, and his service to others as a family doctor, geriatrician, and teacher. He loved a good story (especially one told by his wife), Irish music, New Orleans jazz and spending time with friends and family. Most of all, Desmond cherished time with and memories of his wonderful wife and partner, Cambrai.

Desmond was predeceased by his wife and parents, and his brother Eric. Left to cherish his memory are his brother Donald Pedlow Hayes of Bangor, Northern Ireland; his daughters Helen Hayes Sommer of Norfolk and Cambrai Shireen Kirk (Bill) of Roanoke; his son Dion William Hayes (Anne) of Richmond; his grandchildren Matthew Desmond Hayes Sommer (Barbara Atkins) of Philadelphia; Kelly Kirk Thomas (David) of Charlottesville; Kaitlin Joyce Kirk of Nashville; and Elizabeth Cambrai Hayes and Katherine Fitzhugh Hayes of Richmond; and his great-grandchildren, Ann Watson Thomas and Elizabeth Kirk Thomas of Charlottesville, and all his other family in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Australia and elsewhere around the world.

The family thanks their ‘third sister’ Carmen Wells and her family for their loving care over several years of Desmond (aka Doc) and Cambrai.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to The Union Mission Ministries, Norfolk, The Glennan Center at EVMS or Larchmont United Methodist Church. HD Oliver Funeral Apts., Norfolk Chapel is handling arrangements. Online condolences may be offered to the family through

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