As a funeral director, Elden V. LaHayne dedicated his life to helping people as they grieved the loss of their loved ones.
“He wanted to help people through the worst times in their lives,” said his son, Elden B. LaHayne. “He believed in treating families right.”
Elden V. LaHayne, 90, of Munster and formerly of Hammond, died Jan. 13. He began his career in funeral service in 1941, and after returning from World War II, he graduated from the Indiana College of Mortuary Science in Indianapolis. He worked for several funeral homes, and in 1970, he and his son began LaHayne Funeral Home. He retired in 2001.
He was a World War II Marine veteran, where he received a Purple Heart for an injury he received during the Battle of Okinawa. He was involved in several military veterans organizations.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 62 years, Edith LaHayne, in July 2008.
Edith LaHayne spent the last few years of her life in a nursing home, and her husband spent hours every day there with her.
“His devotion to my mom was unbelievable,” Elden LaHayne said. “Family was No. 1 with him.”
Elden LaHayne said his father never ended a visit or a phone call without saying “I love you.”
Elden LaHayne was as devoted to the Marine Corps as he was to his family, his son said.
“He was a tough Marine, but he was a gentle, kind and loving person,” he said. “His country and his Marine Corps were very important to him.”
Elden LaHayne admired his father for being a great role model.
“I tried to model myself after him,” he said. “He focused on the positive, and on the ‘thank you’ families would give him after services were over. He was a true gentleman and a wonderful guy.”