Manzanar Committee Mourns Loss of Former Manzanar NHS Superintendent Frank Hays

LOS ANGELES — The Manzanar Committee extends its deepest sympathies to the family of former Manzanar National Historic Site Superintendent Frank Hays, who passed away due to a heart attack on March 3, which was, coincidentally, the 25th Anniversary of the establishment of the Manzanar NHS.

A 58-year-old native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Hays was the Associate Regional Director for Natural and Cultural Resource Stewardship and Science for the Northeast Regional Office of the National Park Service (NPS). He served as the Superintendent of Manzanar NHS from April 2001 to July 2005, overseeing Manzanar NHS’ transition from having virtually no staff and no on-site facilities to a much larger staff and a full-blown Visitor Center, which opened in 2004.

After his work at Manzanar NHS, Hays went on to work in Hawai’i as the Pacific Area Director for the Pacific West Region and as Acting Superintendent at World War II Valor in the Pacific National Memorial, which includes the USS Arizona Memorial.

Hays’ work also took him to Alaska, where he served as Superintendent, Western Arctic National Parklands where, according to an NPS statement, he “…responded to increasing threats from oil and other environmental spills and helped to mediate potential conflicts between native subsistence users and sports hunters. He also helped to facilitate local tribal consultation, to resolve Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act issues and to coordinate wildlife management efforts with state and local agencies.”

Prior to his tenure at Manzanar NHS, Hays held positions at Grand Canyon National Park, Saguaro National Park, and Chaco Culture National Historical Park, in addition to numerous seasonal positions going back as far as 1978 at Zion National Park.

Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey noted that Hays arrived at Manzanar NHS at a critical time and did yeoman’s work to transition Manzanar NHS into a fully operational unit of the NPS.

“We are saddened to hear of the passing of Frank Hays this past Friday,” he said. “As Superintendent of the Manzanar National Historic Site in 2001-2005, Frank helped bring the plans developed in prior years to life.”

“It was a pivotal period for Manzanar,” he added. “The Manzanar Committee, the Manzanar National Historic Site Advisory Commission and stakeholders in the Owens Valley were working diligently on the plans for Manzanar and Frank came to Manzanar at this crucial time. He hired staff and worked diligently to move everything forward and have everything ready for the grand opening of the Manzanar’s Visitor Center in 2004.”

“On behalf of the Manzanar Committee, I want to extend our deepest condolences and best wishes to his wife, Norma, his daughter, Sarah, and his sons, Brian and Matthew, along with his National Park Service family. We will be forever grateful to Frank for his dedication and hard work at Manzanar. He will be missed.”

Funeral services are scheduled for Monday, March 13 at East Lawn Palms Mortuary, located at 5801 East Grant Road in Tucson, Arizona, 85712. Public viewing will begin at 10:00 AM with services beginning at 11:00 AM. Information on where to send condolences is pending.

The Manzanar Committee is dedicated to educating and raising public awareness about the incarceration and violation of civil rights of persons of Japanese ancestry during World War II and to the continuing struggle of all peoples when Constitutional rights are in danger. A non-profit organization that has sponsored the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage since 1969, along with other educational programs, the Manzanar Committee has also played a key role in the establishment and continued development of the Manzanar National Historic Site. For more information, check out our web site at, call us at (323) 662-5102, and e-mail us at You can also follow the Manzanar Commitee on Facebook, on Twitter at @manzanarcomm, on Instagram at @manzanarcommittee, on Pinterest and on YouTube.


LEAD PHOTO: Former Manzanar National Historic Site Superintendent Frank Hays. Photo: Tom Clayton. Courtesy National Park Service/.

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