Former State Fair Commissioner, Sedalia Businesswoman Dies Aged 83

A former member of the Missouri State Fair Commission has died after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s.  Sedalia businesswoman Barbara Hayden passed away Thursday at the age of 83.  She was first appointed to the commission in 2005 and wrapped up her time on the panel in early 2021.

Hayden grew up in Western Missouri and relocated to the Los Angeles area when her husband Robert became president of Sierra Bullets in 1970.  Years later, the two would help establish Starline Brass.  Both companies would move to Sedalia in the early 1990s, shortly after Hayden completed a two-year stint as mayor of Downey, California.  After their return to Missouri, the Haydens established a foundation, providing donations to area organizations including the Missouri State Fair Foundation, Open Door Food Pantry, and Retrieving Freedom.  Hayden is survived by her husband of 63 years Robert, a sister, three children, seven grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

Sedalia Memorial Service for 83-year-old Barbara Jo Hayden will be Saturday, March 16th at 2 p.m. at the Broadway Presbyterian Church, with private burial to follow.  The family will receive friends Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. at the church.  Arrangements are under the direction of Heckart Funeral Home.  Memorials are suggested to the Hayden Freedom Foundation.