Denise Darcel Hayes, a loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister, niece and special friend was born on February 4, 1969 to John and Vasheel Shepherd in East St. Louis, IL. Denise departed this earthly life for her eternal resting place on April 25, 2017 in St. Louis, MO.
Denise received her formal education through the East St. Louis public school system, where she excelled in her studies and graduated from East St. Louis Senior High School in 1987. She went on to attend Southwest Illinois Community College earning certifications in Event Planning as well as Culinary Arts and Food Management.
Denise initially found a love for accounting by attending Tax Preparation Training through H&R Block. She went on to hold accounting positions with the Casino Queen and VNA Tip Homecare. Although accounting was her day job, her true passion was event planning and coordination. Denise was known for her elegant taste and exquisite eye for breath taking décor. Everything she touched was beautiful! Her most accomplished event was her very own wedding where she married the love of her life, Rudy, in July 2014, and it was featured on social media outlets.
Denise accepted Christ at an early age and truly loved the Lord. She was diagnosed early in life with a rare liver disease, having three transplants in 1997, 1998 and 2005. Despite her illness, Denise knew how truly blessed she was and would share her testimony to those needing encouragement and strength. She celebrated life regularly with close family and friends through galas, dinners and various uplifting activities. She was a true inspiration.
She was preceded in death by her maternal great grandparents, Della and Roosevelt Morrison; maternal grandfather Johnny Whiting; paternal grandmother Lou I. Shepherd; paternal aunt Diane Pittman and uncle Michael Shepherd
To cherish her memory and continue her legacy, Denise leaves behind her devoted husband, Rudy Hayes; her beloved child, Jzvonte Augustus; stepson Rudy Hayes Jr. (Laquitsha); grandchildren, Saniya Augustus, Jordan McMillian, Summer Hayes and Jordynn Hayes; grandmother Eulia Brinkley; mother Vasheel Shepherd (John); father John Shepherd (Vera); three brothers, Demetrius Owens (Lauren), Anthony Shepherd and John Lillard, Jr., four sisters LaWanda Shepherd, Angela Lillard and LaTosha Rhone (Bruce) and Gertrude Bush (LaVerle) ; four aunts Josephine Ball, Peggy Monroe, Gail Hill, Shirley Harris and one uncle Dwight Shepherd; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. Denise was a devoted wife, giving mother, loving “Nana”, protective sister, honoring niece and faithful friend.