On Wednesday, March 16th, 2022, Velda Rose Hayden (maiden name: Tanner; previous married names: McGraw, Robinson), loving mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, passed away at age 93. A Celebration of Life service will be held Saturday, April 23rd at Potts Chapel at 10:00am. Burial will follow at Harmony Grove Cemetery.
On July 15, 1928 Velda was born near Cherryvale, KS to William P. Tanner and Ethel Rose Tanner (maiden name: Shroder). She enjoyed growing up on a farm and working outside with her dad, while her sister and mother worked inside. She moved to Independence, Kansas as a young woman with her best friend, Shirley, and went to business school before working for a lawyer, then Sinclair Publishing, and finally City Publishing.
She fell deeply in love and married John Phillip McGraw, with whom she had two children, Teresa and Gregory. While Johnny introduced her to fencing and archery, she outshined him when she became the Women’s Kansas State Champion in archery. Through her kids she became the leader of the local champion equine drill team.
After her children were grown, she lost her husband when he was 47 years old, in 1973.
In 1977 she married a retired math teacher, Claud Robinson, who all her grandchildren would know as grandpa, and with whom she would gain two step-sons: Paul and Peter Robinson. She met Claud at a college dance class where he was the instructor. Together they built a dance studio in their home and taught round dancing. Claud passed away in 2000.
In 2002 she was heavily courted by and married to the wild and fun-loving Clifford Hayden. They always said if they got ten good years together, then that would be fine. Together they had a lot of fun: going out to eat, going out dancing, visiting family, taking road trips around the country with their two dogs Nike and Murphy, adopting a pregnant goat, and taking care of their many chickens and rooster. In 2015 Clifford passed at the age of 89.
Velda had a beautiful, warm, and wise soul that touched many lives. She was the best person to have long conversations with and was a sanctuary for so many people and animals over the years. She prioritized family and in her hey-dey was the loving matriarch of it, filling her home with family and friends. For years she hosted all kinds of family traditions and celebrations, and also always opened her home to everyone who needed it. She loved sleeping in and drinking coffee all day. She was exceptionally active throughout her life: she was the Kansas State archery champion, she enjoyed fencing, horse-back riding, round dancing, bowling, being outside, tending to her plants and garden ornaments, and daily 4-mile walks around the block.
In her final years she moved to her daughter’s farm in Florida where she enjoyed golf-cart and donkey-cart rides around the farm, visits from her family, and sitting outside watching the farm with her companion dog Miss Priss in her lap. While dementia took some of her memories she always recognized and loved her family.
She is survived by her daughter (Teresa Helms), step-son (Paul Robinson) seven grandchildren (Jessica Stafford, Kit McGraw, Alexander Helms, Lindsay Helms, Misty Obermier, Shannon Holderman, PJ Robinson), nine, soon to be ten, great-grandchildren (Cash Holt, Raven McGraw, Colby McGraw, Wade Obermier, Wyatt Obermier, Noah Holderman, Eli Holderman, Hollyn Helms, Lincoln Helms), three great-great-grandchildren (Brantley Holt, Tyson Holt, Allie Holt) and two dogs. She is preceded in death by her three late husbands (Johnny McGraw, Claud Robinson, Clifford Hayden), her parents (William P. Tanner, Ethel Rose Tanner), her sister (Carlene McWhirt), her son (Gregory McGraw), her great-grandson (Chase Holt), and her great-great-grandson (Chance Holt).