NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Nacogdoches County Memorial Hospital employees carried on despite the loss of their leader. Tim Hayward would have wanted it that way. It's what he did every day after a liver transplant in 2006.
Hayward was only 18 when he began drawing people's blood at Memorial. It wasn't long before he became a microbiologist.
"We looked at bugs," said current Microbiologist Nancy French.
French got to know Hayward in the lab surrounded by cultures of the kind of stuff most people try to avoid. It intrigued Hayward.
"This is where he worked and this is where he lived and this is where he made a difference," she said.
Hayward became director of infection control, where his administrative skills blossomed. Hayward was name CEO in 2000.
"He had worked it," said Beth Knight, the administrator of nursing. "He knew it. And it wasn't just that he was 'sat in the office' type person."
People were put in charge. Confidence was created.
"I learned to be patient and to observe the situation or problem," said Kinnie Douglas of the Healthy Nacogdoches Coalition.
Financial director Jane Ann Bridges regrets her last conversation with her boss.
"Unfortunately it was about work," Bridges said. "He never quit working."
Bridges cries tears of sadness, but remembers Hayward's funny little rule.
"He said if you're going to cry we're going to your office because you can not cry in my office," she said.
Hospital volunteers remember Hayward's daily walks through the hospital.
"Sometimes you can't say thanks enough," Hayward said.
Hayward died just short of his 50th birthday. He was going to celebrate January 10 with a trip to his very favorite spot.
Cobo San Lucas was Hayward's go to spot to spend with family and friends. It wasn't meant to be.
Tim Hayward's funeral will be Friday at 3 p.m. at Grace Bible Church in Nacogdoches. Following the services a celebration of life will be held at Fredonia Hotel.