Chatten Hayes – Nov. 29, 1959 – Oct. 21, 2019

Posted on Oct 25 2019 - 3:49am by DV
Chatten Hayes, an uncommonly vibrant and committed woman who gave her life to innumerable causes and enthusiasms, died Oct. 21, 2019, after a long illness. A lifelong Portlander and devoted Oregonian, Chatten (“Chatty” to childhood friends and family) cultivated friendships and connections from all walks of life and was a bright presence wherever she went.
Chatten was born Helen Chatten Hayes Nov. 29, 1959 to Joanne Johnson Hayes and Thomas Rexford “Rex” Hayes. She grew up in Portland and Yamhill County, attending Catlin Gabel, Oregon Episcopal School and Newberg High School. She went on to the University of Wisconsin and then transferred to Portland State University, graduating with a degree in communications in 1982.
Chatten’s mother, Joanne set an example of community service and loyal friendships and when she died in 1982, Chatten carried her legacy forward. And she carried her mother’s brilliant sense of humor forward: her car still bears the now nearly unreadable and very old vanity plate that was her mother’s, which reads “LAUGH.” Her enthusiasms were many: travel, theater, walking, singing, a long line of adored cats, Hawaii, backpacking, scuba diving, coffee, purple, all things Italian and her friends and family.
In 1990, Chatten married David Steinberg and they began a life of travel, adventure and service together. The consummate enthusiast, Chatten threw herself wholeheartedly into David’s world of competitive handball. They were a team: David, the champion handball player and coach, and Chatten, the organizer of tournaments, cheerleader and enthusiastic spokesperson for the sport, on a local, national and international level.
Chatten gave so much to the Portland she loved. As a Master Recycler, she became an essential member of the Festa Italiana crew in 2010, making that annual festival in Pioneer Square sustainable. She ran handball tournaments, volunteered at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility for many years, volunteered at the Old Town Reading Room in the 1980’s, and organized many events, including a memorable party at the zoo to raise funds for Transition Projects. She was a wonderful writer, whose many features for The Oregonian concentrated on quirky destinations in Oregon, as well as recycling and sustainability.
Beyond her worldly accomplishments, Chatten was a beloved human being, full of bright ideas, with a quick intelligence and wit, deeply engaged and present to the people around her, sensitive to the suffering of others and always looking forward.
Chatten is survived by her husband of 30 years, David Steinberg; and a small army of chosen family and close friends. She will be forever missed and remembered.
A celebration of life will be held in January of next year. Contributions in Chatten Hayes’ memory may be made to the Chatten S. Hayes Fund at the Oregon Community Foundation.
Please sign the online guest book at

Published in The Oregonian from Nov. 5 to Nov. 10, 2019

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