Loved music, baking and word puzzles

MELROSE — Nancy R. (Crofts) Hayes, a longtime resident of Melrose, passed away peacefully at the McClure-Miller Respite House in Colchester, VT on Friday, November 17 at age 80.

Nancy was born in Beverly on January 23, 1943, the eldest (by six minutes) of four children of the late Clyde H. and Margaret S. (Wilkins) Crofts. She was raised in Danvers, where she graduated from Holten High School. She went on to earn her Bachelor’s degree from Boston University and her Master’s degree from Boston College and put that knowledge to use teaching high school Spanish. 

Nancy’s longtime passion was music. For 46 years she was the organist and choir director at her home church, the First Church of Danvers, Congregational, UCC. In addition to being the organist at First Church, she was a longtime, active member and was proud of her family’s history in that congregation, dating back to its creation in 1672. Nancy also taught piano lessons for decades at her home on Lebanon St.

Nancy married Birton “Bud” Hayes of Melrose in 1968, where they settled and raised their two children. She left teaching Spanish to become a stay-at-home mum in 1970, but started her piano teaching career when her children were in elementary school. When Bud passed in 1984 at the very young age of 44, Nancy took up the reins of single parenting and did her very best for her family.

Nancy loved to create. She was an avid knitter and crocheter. She also sewed many items, ranging from costumes to teddy bears to a wedding gown. She was an excellent baker, turning out dozens upon dozens of spritz cookies every Christmas from her tiny kitchen. Nancy loved to play board and card games, especially Scrabble and Solitaire. She loved to read and do word puzzles and she was a passionate watcher of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. 

Nancy will be deeply missed by her family and friends. Nancy was the beloved mother of Martha Crannell (wife of Chuck) of Chelmsford and Daniel Hayes of Richmond, VT. Dear sister of Robert Crofts and his wife Diane and John Crofts; predeceased by her brother William Crofts, his wife Barbara and their son. Cherished grandmother of Casey, Liam and Hawk. Beloved cousin and aunt of many nieces, nephews and grandnieces.

Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to gather during visiting hours at the Robinson Funeral Home, 809 Main St., Melrose, on Thursday, November 30 from 4 to 7 p.m. Private interment in Wyoming Cemetery, Melrose. A Celebration of Life will be held early next year. Gifts in her memory may be made to the Nancy Hayes Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 431, Richmond, VT, 05477. For online tribute, please visit