Robert Roy Bays, age 88, of Little Rock, Arkansas, passed away on April 30, 2021. Born in Alexandria, Louisiana on November 1, 1932 to Hobart Marvin Bays and Renee M. Broussard Bays, he was the eldest of five children. Raised in Alexandria, Robert was a graduate of Bolton High School where he lettered in track and played clarinet in the concert and marching bands. At age 17, he joined the National Guard and was sent to Korea where he proudly served his country with honor and distinction. After his tour of duty, he returned home and earned his bachelor’s degree at Louisiana College. In later years, he obtained additional certifications and degrees from various learning institutions.
In September 1956, Robert married Elizabeth Cire in Alexandria. In that same year, he began his professional career at CLECO (Central Louisiana Electric Company). While working in corporate and industrial development for CLECO, he and Elizabeth lived in several Louisiana cities and made many friends all over the state. In 1975, Robert accepted a job opportunity with First Federal in Little Rock, Arkansas where he made his home ever since. Until his retirement, he worked in the financial sector and then in commercial real estate management and business development with various companies in Central Arkansas.
Upon moving to Little Rock, Robert became a dedicated member of Christ the King Catholic Church and served as a Fourth Degree Knight with the Knights of Columbus 10176 Council.
At a young age, Robert developed a lifelong love of nature and the great outdoors. Among the special memories of his youth were the times he spent fishing, hunting, and camping with his father, family, and friends. In his adult years, he took up additional hobbies including archery and marksmanship, road-course auto racing, photography, running marathons, flying small airplanes, sailing, cycling and mountain biking, birdwatching and fly fishing. He was a member of Trout Unlimited, the Audubon Society/Arkansas and the Sierra Club. Robert was always interested in seeing new places and trying new things and he put his whole heart into every experience. Best of all, he included his family in many of these adventures which in turn created happy memories for everyone.
Robert was a hard worker and an excellent provider. He protected his family and ensured that they were always safe and sheltered in a well-kept home. His family is eternally grateful for his consistent love, devotion, guidance, and generosity; for all the good times and laughter; and for showing us so many wonderful aspects of life. He was a true original with a great sense of humor and an extraordinary person who never met a stranger. He will be missed every single day forever.
Robert is survived by his wife, Elizabeth; daughters, Eris and Catherine; granddaughter, Elizabeth Kyle; brother, Johnny H. Bays (Cathy); sister, Carolyn Bays Maynard; and his son-in-law, Terry L. Allen. He is also survived by his aunt, Carrie Broussard; his sister-in-law, Blythe Bays; and several cousins, nieces, and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers, Ronnie M. Bays and Jerry C. Bays, his brothers-in-law, uncles and aunts from the Bays, Broussard and Cire families.
For those wishing to remember Robert in a special way, please take time to do something that he loved… walk in the woods, look for beautiful birds, visit a favorite fishing spot, bike up a mountain trail. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Audubon Society of Central Arkansas or Christ the King Church.
Robert’s family would like to thank the staff at Avenir Memory Care-Little Rock, Hospice Home Care-Little Rock and James Towns for the support and assistance they provided to him in his final days.
Visitation will be 5:30 – 7:30 pm on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 at Smith Little Rock Funeral Home, 8801 Knoedl Ct., Little Rock. A holy Mass celebrating Robert’s life will be held at Christ the King Catholic Church in Little Rock at 10:00 am on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. A private interment service will take place at Greenwood Memorial Park Cemetery in Pineville, Louisiana afterward. An online condolence book may be signed at www.SmithFamilyCares.com.
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