Christine (Chris) [Ramona Moon] Hayes. August 25, 1947 – January 5, 2024
In mourning her passing, we honor with a smile and fondness, Christine’s extraordinary character and personality. You could not help but be attracted to her, nor forget her. Christine’s intelligence, perceptive instincts and artistic creativity all existed at uncommon levels. She established her own unique presence, spreading love and warmth--with a sharp wit--among thousands of children and adults across her lifetime.
Preceded in death by her parents, Betty and Ben Hayes, cousin to Woody Hayes, Christine is survived by her son, artist Lucian Archimedes Moon Hayes.
As a child, she attended many notable events in Central Ohio thanks to her father’s career as a newspaper columnist with The Citizen-Journal. At age 6, Christine was named Ms. Ohio State Fair in 1953. In 1956, her family moved from a country farmhouse into an original Rush Creek Village home in Worthington, Ohio. Her mother, a seamstress, sewed most of the original Rush Creek homes’ curtains for the world’s largest community of Frank Lloyd Wright styled homes ever built.
Upon graduation in 1965 from Worthington High School, Christine moved to Southern California to study theatre at the University of California-Irvine where she received a B.A. degree in 1968. There, she wrote, produced and directed a live version of Zap Comics called “The Zap Show” which was performed in Newport Beach. She would soon move to San Francisco where she became a familiar face riding cable cars and supporting herself by waitressing at the famous Sir Francis Drake Hotel and Shandygaff Vegetarian Restaurant.
The amazing breadth of Christine’s talents included: Montessori teacher, dramatist, playwright, actress, set-designer, poet, columnist, author, bibliophile, historian, and diarist (including lucid dream logs). But above all, she was an artist. In California, she adopted the artist’s name Ramona Moon, and became one of the first 1960s artists to work only with recycled materials to produce collaged art in 2- and 3-dimensional works. Some of her earliest pieces in this genre appeared as mobiles for sale in her booth at the Laguna Beach Sawdust Festival. Most celebrated among her collage pieces are her art cars, one of which may be seen in the courtyard of GoreMade Pizza in Columbus. Indeed, her art cars have appeared in films by Harrod Blank as well as in his book Wild Wheels.
Christine was one of the early social influencers of the burgeoning hippie movement. “She was iconic,” in San Francisco, reported a friend in 2023. One close group of communal friends was collagist Judy Davis and her partner Chet Helms, founder of The Family Dog production company. As a result, Christine worked back stage at many famous music concerts, such as 1967’s Summer of Love concerts and the Monterey Pop Festival, and later on Helms’ Tribal Stomp events. Ramona’s art studio was in a building that Helms provided to Big Brother and the Holding Company to practice sets with his newly recruited lead singer for the band, Janis Joplin. On a sadder note, Christine would be photographed witnessing, up close, the “end” of the Summer of Love at 1969’s Altamont Free Concert where violence broke out. Yet, she would persevere in living out her values embracing love, art, fun, non-violence, vegetarianism and justice. Case in point, was Ramona’s annual Bolinas Solstice Festival and the Sausalito Arts Festival which featured her larger than life-size puppets. Decades later, poet, publisher and City Lights Bookstore owner, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, would be interviewed attending the Bolinas beach festival, stating it was the last thing happening that still reminded him of The Summer of Love. Out of Ramona’s annual beach events, and others in the Bay Area, would emerge the idea for Burning Man. Ramona was also involved in organizing other “happenings” in the Bay Area such as the Circus by the Sea and 1972’s Chinese Year of the Rat Valentine Dance at The Spaghetti Factory on Telegraph Hill.
During her time in California, Christine became close to, helped and worked for the Michael Murphy family, co-founder of the world-famous Esalen Institute located on the Big Sur coast south of San Francisco. At Esalen, she participated with the world’s leading thinkers in open-dialogue seminars. She was involved with consciousness-raising experiments using psychedelics that were integral to the Institute’s mission to explore the potential of humanity. As a deeply loved Montessori teacher for the Marin Horizon school, wait lists developed for families wanting their kids to be taught by Christine!
Ramona loved to travel. One memorable 1969 trip was with the Köln-based German rock & roll band, Can, to Morocco. She visited Jamaica twice with Arnett Howard of the Creole Funk Band who made no less than 31 visits to Jamaica during his musical career. On one summer vacation in update New York, Ramona served as artist in residence, being a playwright and thespian, for the League of Theater Artists / Lexington Conservatory Theater.
Moving back into her Rush Creek Village home at the end of the1990s, Ramona organized Columbus’ first art car show on April Fool’s Day, 2000, at Dan Dougan’s Little Brothers’ music hall in the Short North. Her presence with her art car(s) at art events, parades like the Doo Dah, and festivals like Comfest and Hot Times made her widely known. In Columbus, Ramona would re-establish her collage-art studio, first in Couchfire Collective’s Junctionview Studios and then inside BrickBox Studios. One of her artistic commissions was part of a collectively-created mural for the new Mt. Carmel Women’s Health Center St. Ann’s in Westerville.
Even before her 1999 return to Columbus, Christine worked with Jay Hoster of Columbus’ Hoster Brewing family to publish in 1991 The Ben Hayes Scrapbook—The Best of Ben Hayes—Columnist, Storyteller, Reporter, Chronicler of Columbus’ Life and Times. Family and literary friend, Tom Thomson recruited her to write columns for his monthly paper, The Short North Gazette, which may be found at www.shortnorth.com. An original member of Columbus’ The Aldus Society, dedicated to knowledge of books, Christine served as its secretary for seven years. In 2011, she contributed the Foreword to Look to Lazarus. The Big Store written by the Meyers family. With co-author Doug Motz, she published two editions of Lost Restaurants of Columbus in 2015 and 2017. And the latest with Motz, her last book, is the soon to be published A History Lover’s Guide to Columbus.
A speed reader of incredible breadth across the literary landscape, after her return to Columbus, Christine first worked at Jay & Genie Hoster’s used book store, Books on High. She then had a sixteen-year stint working at George Bauman’s Acorn Bookshop, helping to close it in 2018.
Throughout her life, Christine had an uncanny connection to the natural world, books and the arts. Despite later financial challenges, she continued to support such causes, and requested that such be continued after her stroke on July 3, 2023 which left her severely disabled. For those who wish to make a contribution to her memory, Bread & Puppet Theater in Glover, Vermont, and The Nature Conservancy are two groups that she especially supported. Surely, the staff who cared for her at Mt. Carmel Rehabilitation Hospital, Wesley Glen Health Center and Ohio Health Hospice deserve everyone’s gratitude—even in her highly disabled state, care staff fell in love with her! Another way to honor Christine/Ramona’s memory, that she would fully approve, is found in the link below to purchase a memorial tree.
Due to her many unique friendships, and due to her many extended-networks of colleagues, it is the hope of her son, Lucian, that her friends and followers will self-organize one or more commemorative events among themselves, as they wish, to honor her memory. We hope no one feels left out; but if so, make a toast to her memory, with a tear and a smile, whenever the moment feels right.