Herman H. 'Dutch” Hayner


Herman H. "Dutch" Hayner

September 25, 1916 - February 26, 2010

Herman H. "Dutch" Hayner was born September 25, 1916, in Fairfield, WA. The son of German immigrants with the surname "Hahner", which Dutch legally changed to "Hayner" in 1973. He was the eldest of seven children.

In 1938 Dutch graduated from Washington State University and received an ROTC commission before heading off to the University of Oregon, school of law. Just months before he was to graduate, he was called to active Army service and was assigned to the 817th Tank Destroyer Battalion. Within six months of active duty, Hayner was promoted to captain and, in another year, to Major. By 1944, his Battalion was attached to the Third Army in Europe with primary assignments in Northern France, Belgium, and throughout Germany. In the winter of 1944-45, the Battalion was involved in the Battle of the Bulge, spent 60 days on the line with no relief, and, in the spring, participated in the liberation of the Nordhauzen Concentration Camp. During his service, Dutch was recipient of the Bronze Star, four Battle Stars, and other medals. He left active duty in early 1946 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

Following the war, Dutch returned to finish the last months of law school. He was admitted to the Oregon and Washington Bar Association in 1946 and became an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Oregon.

Dutch married his law school sweetheart, Jeannette Hafner, a Portland native, at Camp Chaffee, Arkansas in October 1942. In 1947 the couple moved to Walla Walla, where Dutch entered private law practice, and the couple both participated in civic and church activities with enthusiasm.

Dutch joined W.L. "Shine" Minnick as a law partner in 1948, and the two shared a close professional and personal relationship for 45 years. Dutch continued his practice in the Minnick-Hayner law firm until last summer. Over the years he edited and published Supreme Court-sponsored books on both civil and criminal jury instructions. He was the recipient of the Junior Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Service Award in 1951, the Chamber of Commerce Award of Merits in 1977, and the Washington State University Alumni Achievement Award in 1988. Dutch served on several corporate and non-profit Boards of Directors, including Pacific Northwest Bell from 1973-1988, the Washington State Executive Board of US West from 1988-1996, the YMCA, Red Cross, Washington Children's Home Society, and two terms (including two years as President) on the Board of Regents of WSU. Dutch was very active in the Rotary Club and the Walla Walla Country Club.

For nearly four decades Dutch was a fervent supporter of the political career of his wife, Jeannette, who served in numerous positions of public office, including more than 20 years in the leadership of the Washington State legislature.

Dutch loved sports and was an avid Blue Devils and WSU fan. He was a fine skier and continued to play golf until he was over 90. He was deeply committed to his three children (Steve, Jim, and Judy), seven grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

To his friends Dutch was known as a man of rare good humor, deep loyalty to family and friends, unsurpassed generosity, pride in his country, amazing energy, and committed faith. WSU awarded him the "Dad of the Year" in 1969, but he was Dad of the Year every year in his family.

Dutch truly loved his work and really didn't believe in the concept of retirement. He continued to be active in the law firm, in his civic activities, in his church, and in the care for his wife and family until the very end. Dutch served as Trustee and Investment Administrator for several private charitable trusts. The endowment of these foundations grew impressively under his direction and have contributed millions of dollars to local and regional charities, colleges and universities for scholarships, programs, and facilities. The primary focus of the trust benevolence has been youth, the aged, and the underprivileged. Dutch and Jeannette have been personally generous and were recently honored by WSU for 50 years of uninterrupted giving.

Dutch was diagnosed with Lymphoma in the summer of 2009 and battled with the disease until he died peacefully on February 26, 2010. He is survived by his wife of over 67 years, Jeannette, his three children and their spouses (Steve and Sharol Hayner, Jim and Pam Hayner, and Judy Hayner), his seven grandchildren (Emilie, Chip, Drew, Adam, Scott, Eric and Kevin), and two great-grandchildren (Claire and Anna). He is also survived by a brother, Charles, and sisters, Claudia and Margaret.

Friends are invited to attend a Memorial Service for Dutch Friday, March 5, at 2:00 PM at First Presbyterian Church, with a reception to follow at the Walla Walla Country Club. Private family burial. Memorial gifts may be sent in care of Herring Funeral Home, 315 W. Alder, Walla Walla, for First Presbyterian Church in Walla Walla or charity of the donor's choice.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment

Click here to sign in