Frank M. Hays, 1922-2012: Toledo police officer injured in ’62 shooting


Frank M. Hays, a retired Toledo police patrolman who was among three officers shot during a gun battle with a man in 1962, died Monday from cancer in Hospice of Northwest Ohio in Toledo. He was 90.

Marilyn Hays, his wife of 49 years, said he was given a diagnosis of colon cancer in October, 2011.

Mr. Hays joined the Toledo Police Department in 1950 after working in a factory for several years. He and Officer Bill Boyle were wounded and Officer Donald Brown was killed in the shooting on June 9, 1962, in the 1900 block of North 14th Street.

The officers were hit by shotgun blasts after they were called to the home of Oliver Nickerson, who had threatened to kill his wife and four children.

Officer Brown died three days after the shooting in what was then St. Vincent Hospital, where both Officer Boyle and Officer Hays were treated.

At the time of the shooting, Mrs. Hays was married to Officer Brown and was five months pregnant. She said she visited Officer Hays at the hospital, and he went to her home about six months later to congratulate her on the birth of her daughter.

Her father and Mr. Hays’ father had worked together at the old Willys Overland Co., which later became Jeep.

“There are no accidents. Everything happens for a reason,” Mrs. Hays said.

They were married Nov. 25, 1963, three days after President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed.

Mr. Hays went on to recover from his injuries and was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 1969. He retired in 1976.

In retirement, he was an inspector for nine years for the Ohio Racing Commission. Mrs. Hays said he reviewed the background of the drivers at Raceway Park and inspected the barns at the harness-horse track.

Mr. Hays and his wife began a house-sitting business in 1980 called Vacation Home Security Co. For a daily rate ranging from $8 to $10, the couple visited dwellings of vacationing or absent homeowners to provide daily house care. Their services included caring for pets, taking in newspapers and mail, furnishing timers for lights, opening and closing draperies, and watering plants.

Born Sept. 18, 1922, Mr. Hays graduated from DeVilbiss High School. He entered the Army in 1944, and was trained as a pilot for the Air Corps. Mrs. Hays said her husband piloted C-47 transport planes during World War II, carrying troops, cargo, and supplies throughout Europe until his discharge in 1946.

Later in life, Mr. Hays obtained his pilot’s license and owned a small airplane with another police officer that they kept at Metcalf Field in Lake Township.

Surviving are his wife, Marilyn; daughter, Cindy Foust; brother Paul Hays, two grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Services will be private. Blanchard-Strabler Funeral Home is handling arrangements. The family suggests tributes to Hospice of Northwest Ohio or the charity of the donor's choice.