Thursday, April 5, 2012

Remembering Dr. Celia Ray Hayhoe

Dr. Celia Ray Hayhoe, left, with NCL Board Chair Anna Flores,
at the 2011 LifeSmarts Summit in Los Angeles.

By Brandi Williams, LifeSmarts Program Manager

It was with great sadness that we recently learned that long-time LifeSmarts Virginia state coordinator, Dr. Celia Ray Hayhoe, passed away on March 16, 2012. Dr. Hayhoe was one of the most caring people I have ever met. In 2009 she invited me to my very first LifeSmarts competition in Richmond, and welcomed my questions (and sometimes befuddlement) with warmth and kindness. It was such a surprise to hear of Dr. Hayhoe's passing, as I’d seen her only the week prior at the 2012 Virginia LifeSmarts competition, working hard to make the event as special and memorable for the participants as she possibly could.

Dr. Hayhoe worked tirelessly to support the people and programs she cared about. Although she was stepping down as the Virginia LifeSmarts coordinator this summer, she assured me that she was planning to remain an active member of the Virginia LifeSmarts Coalition. Her daughter Janice shared with me that Dr. Hayhoe truly cared about LifeSmarts. “I’m sure there is a big part of her that will always be a part of the programs that she really loved and supported,” Janice wrote. “My mom took her work very seriously and she truly cared for the people she worked with and the people they helped. Her dream was to help others feel safe and have some security in their lives so that they could follow their dreams; she accomplished this dream every day of her life. I know her spirit will forever live on in our hearts.”

Since joining the LifeSmarts team in 2005, Dr. Hayhoe went above and beyond the call of duty, making contributions to the program that would have a lasting impact. At the first ever LifeSmarts Summit in 2011, Dr. Hayhoe strongly encouraged LifeSmarts staff to build into the program’s curriculum a stronger emphasis on real-life consumer issues teens face immediately upon entering adulthood, such as renter’s rights.

“Celia was a staunch, thoughtful advocate for consumer education, and she challenged us to improve the LifeSmarts program over the years,” said Lisa Hertzberg, LifeSmarts Director, who worked with Celia during her seven years as LifeSmarts coordinator. “Celia had a measurable impact on the program, in her state, and at the national level, and LifeSmarts is a richer, better program thanks to her.”

Dr. Hayhoe was an associate professor and Family Resource Management Extension Specialist at Virginia Tech. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in Family and Consumer Resources with a minor in Finance and was a Certified Financial Planner and faculty member in the Department of Apparel, Housing and Resource Management. Dr. Hayhoe recently developed the Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Financial Education Volunteers Program with Extension’s Family Financial Management Leadership Team and AmeriCorp Vista partnership.

Dr. Hayhoe touched many lives very deeply, including my own. She will be sorely missed.