George Edward Heath, age 67, son of Edgar Hartley Heath and Mary Elizabeth (Phinney) Heath, was born February 20, 1945 in Springfield, MO. He passed away January 24, 2013 at Texas County Memorial Hospital in Houston, MO.
George is preceded in death by his parents, one sister, Georgia, his brother, Kenneth Phinney, two brothers-in-law, James Claspill and Darrell Lee, one great niece and one grandson, Aedon Thane Heath.
He is survived by his wife Rebecca Yvonne (Lee) Heath of Houston, MO, his son, Ian Edward Heath and wife, Kellie of Nixa, MO, his daughter, Alison Gail (Heath) Markunas and husband Charles of Holts Summit, MO, his brothers, James Phinney and wife Wanda of Rogersville, MO and Billy Heath and wife Helen of Willard, MO, his sister Hazel Claspill of Long Lane, MO, four grandchildren; Alannah, Ian, Cohen and Charley Belle along with several nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
George attended schools in the Springfield, MO area. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army stationed in Germany. After the military George became an over the road truck driver, receiving several awards including truck driver of the year.
George lived in Florida and California, his heart’s desire was to find peace and freedom. He protested war and searched for life’s meaning in the alternate lifestyles of the 1960’s. He left California in the early 70’s with everything he owned packed in his car. While driving across the desert, his car broke down. With his sense of adventure and exceptional survival skills, he took what he could carry and left the rest behind. Finally arriving at a truck stop, George met one of Cody Ice’s drivers who had just quit. George asked for the number, called Cody and drove the truck back to Houston, MO. While living and working in Houston, MO, he met Rebecca Lee and they dated until George felt he needed to travel again and so he left Houston, MO for a year in fear of losing his freedom.
When George returned to Houston after his year of traveling, he and Becky literally ran into each other at Ramey’s Supermarket. George had been attending Calvary Baptist Church and had become a Christian. He wasn’t the person Becky had previously known. After manipulation by Becky’s sister Kathy, George and Becky began dating again.
George had found the peace and freedom he had searched for all of his life, within his relationship with Jesus Christ. His faith led Becky back to God. They were married on July 5, 1975 at Wildwood House of Prayer, Raymondville, MO. After two years Ian was born and two more, Alison.
George and his family enjoyed traveling and camping along with floating down the Current River frequently during the summer. He had a great love and deep understanding of music and motorcycles. In Raymondville, he owned and operated “Trader Steins, buy, sell, and trade anything of value”. This is where he established himself as the “Resident Wheeler and Dealer.”
In 1989, George suffered an epileptic seizure and his life changed again. After having to give up truck driving he attended Drury University evening college in Cabool, MO and graduated in May 1997 with degrees in criminology, sociology and psychology. George worked in Mental Health and managed a crisis center for troubled youth. His last and most loved job was with Licking School District, Licking, MO, where he worked with Dr. John Hood to institute and teach Bridges Alternative School.
After many years of health issues George retired from teaching. His last years of life were filled with his friends at Double R Pawn, his church family, road trips to the ocean and beyond with Becky, Sunday dinners at “Mom and Dad’s”, Gail and James Lee and family and frequent trips to see his children and grandchildren.
Becky, Ian and Alison have always been aware that George lived many lives that they were not a part of. However, every experience George had, and any person he loved, contributed to the husband and father he became. George was a brilliant mind, unique in every way possible- trapped in a deteriorating body. He loved life and will be missed dearly by all who knew him, loved him or crossed paths with him.
“Life wants to live…and such is the business of life.”….George Heath
The family respectfully requests that donations be made to the Wildwood House of Prayer, in his honor, in lieu of floral arrangements. Online condolences may be sent to www.evans.fh.com.
Services were held at 10:00 A.M. Saturday January 26, 2013 at Wildwood House of Prayer with Pastor Donnie Blansit officiating. Pallbearers were; John Phinney, Randy Phinney, Brynt Cooper, Lonnie Lee, Darrell Lee, Coleman Lee, Denim Lee and Nick French. Honorary Pallbearers were; Kory Cooper and Josh Lee. Burial was in Friendship Cemetery under the direction of Evans Funeral Home.