RAPID CITY | George I. Hey, 99, passed away on Dec. 30, 2017 at the Clarkson Mountain View Health Care Facility.
George was born May 5, 1918, in Edgemont to Walt and Cora Hey.
He started life in the closing days of World War I; living in Edgemont the first 14 years then on the Craven Canyon ranch his Dad had acquired. He returned to Edgemont each fall for high school and graduated in the spring of 1936.
He attended the University of Pittsburgh for a year then returned to the ranch, also taking an air conditioning and refrigeration course at home with a final month in Chicago.
He then worked as a ranch hand a couple of years on Indian Creek, south of Edgemont, before joining the National Guard.
After he joined, he was sent to Camp Claiborne Louisiana. After 10 months of training, his Guard unit was mobilized and became part of the U.S. Armed Forces as World War II began. Next he was sent to Ireland, within three months of Pearl Harbor. After nine months of further training, he was part of the second troop convoy in the invasion of North Africa. He was a truck mechanic with a T4 rating in Service Company 133 Infantry Regiment, 34th Division, U.S. Army. He landed in Oran Harbor shortly after its liberation and soon moved up to combat positions in Algeria and Tunisia. Before the year was out, he helped end the campaign in Africa and landed on to the beaches of Salerno in southern Italy.
George’s father died on the ranch in February 1944, so his mother had an opening for a ranch hand. He took the job and has been on the ranch north of Edgemont in Craven Canyon since. He moved to Rapid City in July 2016 due to health concerns.
Nancy Fay & George were married April 5, 1946. They successfully operated the original Hey Ranch in Craven Canyon area and later added the Ray Fay ranch in Red Canyon.
Along with ranch work, he served on local school boards and as a member of the Dudley Township Board of Supervisors for several years.
His life span has covered much development and changes in the world. County and township roads hardly had gravel surfaces until after WWII for example. He marveled while watching the first man walk on the moon that wagons with teams of horses were common on the streets of Edgemont when he was a small boy.
He served as an unofficial caretaker of the Pictograph Writings in Craven Canyon and took pride in this knowledge of history. He received the Robert Alex Award in 2011 for his stewardship of historic places from the Forest Service.
George is survived by his wife of 71 years, Nancy L. Hey; two children, John (Judy) Rapid City, Susan (Leonard) of Rapid City; three grandchildren, Lief Hey Running, Kelli (Scott) Flockhart & Chris Hey; two great grandchildren, Keira & Gaige Flockhart.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers, Harry and Bud; and sister, Mildred.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. today at Kirk Funeral Home, Rapid City.
Interment will be at the Edgemont Cemetery, Friday, Jan. 5, at 2 p.m. A gathering will be held at the United Church in Edgemont following.
Memorials in George’s name have been established to preserve the Craven Canyon Pictographs.
Friends may sign his online guestbook at Kirk Funeral Home website. http://www.kirkfuneralhome.com/