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Longtime area businessman, Albert Hayes, dies at age 81
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This billboard for Hayes Chrysler-Plymouth was used in the mid-1980s. A.D. Hayes, the co-founder of Hayes Auto Service, died Monday at age 81.

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Listen to Tim Hayes, general manager of the Hayes Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep dealership in Oakwood, talk about his father’s humble beginnings and rise in the auto business.

Albert "A.D." Hayes’ rise in the auto industry dates to 1953, when he ran a gas station/garage in Decatur.

He took a big step in 1971, opening an auto dealership at a Lawrenceville location where businesses had failed. He succeeded to the point of expanding, including opening a dealership in 1984 off Frontage Road in Oakwood.

Hayes, whose face was familiar in area advertisements and billboards, died Monday. He was 81.

"He had Parkinson’s (disease) for some years, and it finally just got him," said his son, Tim Hayes, general manager of the Hayes Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep dealership in Oakwood.

"... It’s been a day-to-day thing, and now it’s over with."

Funeral services are set for 11 a.m. Wednesday at Blackshear Place Baptist Church in Oakwood. Burial will follow in Memorial Park South Cemetery in South Hall.

The family plans to receive friends from 6 to 9 tonight at the funeral home.

In addition to starting Hayes Auto Service and running the dealerships, A.D. Hayes was a founding member of Independent Garage Owners.

He was a Gwinnett County Rotarian and served on the board of directors for the Gwinnett County Chamber of Commerce.

Hayes, who lived in Braselton at the time of his death, "did a lot of great things in his life," said his son.

Tim Hayes, 49, said he was destined to follow in the family business.

"I’ve been in it ever since I could drive, or before," he said. "I was washing cars and sweeping floors — you name it."

Hayes recalled his father as "a kind, generous person" who had varied interests.

"He was a farmer. I was raised on a 100-acre farm in Snellville and then, when I got married and left the house, he moved to a 200-acre farm in Jackson County," he said. "He’s always had cattle and ... he raised bulls and sold them."

A.D. Hayes, who also enjoyed boating, was president of the Georgia Florida Charolais Cattleman Association.

He had two other sons and was married for 62 years to Ann Hayes. He also had five grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

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