SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Lewis Harrison Hayden Jr., 73, of Pleasanton, Texas, passed away on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in San Antonio, Texas.

Born in Maine, Lew Hayden was driven at an early age by passion and an innate curiosity of how things worked. These two qualities, coupled with an intense work-ethic, drove Lew to entrepreneurial successes in many fields of business.

An avid reader and active mind equipped Lew with all he needed to achieve and excel in any endeavor. All who have known him would describe him as the original “one of a kind.” He absolutely had no fear of failure, and was one to lead, not follow. One of his adventures led him to Texas. Carrying years of factory experience with the likes of Pann American, Norwock and Dexter shoe companies Lew hit the “Lone Star” State. He started SAS (San Antonio Shoe Company) with his long-time friend and partner, Terry Armstrong. Terry’s creativity and Lew’s savvy business sense provided the perfect one-two punch that launched SAS into one of the most successful and enduring shoe companies in the United States. It was from this San Antonio-based shoe company that Lew would expand upon his many business enterprises. His success was linked to the same qualities that he approached in every endeavor. He believed in passion, quality, attention to detail, customer service, integrity, honesty and above all, commitment to the task. The formula worked for him whether it was cattle, wood, restaurants, real estate or his true love, standardbred trotter and pacer horse racing. It also was the measure for his latest ventures at Pleasanton Country Club and River Bend Golf Club. His many successful businesses never changed his humble and simple lifestyle. He knew that it took many people for one triumph and was quick to acknowledge others. He was a leader and a giver. Lew never lingered in the limelight nor would he take credit for the many successes under his stewardship. He chose discretion over popularity and anonymity over fame, both in his professional and personal life. Those that new him best would liken him to a protective grizzly bear with a golden heart. Our world has suffered a tremendous loss with Lew’s departure. Heaven must be in need because God has taken back one of His greatest creations.

He is survived by his daughters, Jan Ricks and husband, Lee III, of Pleasanton, and Susan Hayden of Appleton, Wis.; and his sons, Jon Hayden and wife, Olivia, of Pleasanton, Jay Hayden and wife, Maria, of Del Rio, and Brett Hayden of Pleasanton. He is also survived by his sister, Jackie Lyon, of Deltona, Fla.; a brother, Roger Hayden, of Jay, Maine; eight grandchildren; as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

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