George R. Whitehead, 92, died Wednesday, July 24, 2013, at the Neighborhoods at Brookview, in Brookings.
Funeral services are at 10:30 a.m. Monday at Rude’s Funeral Home in Brookings. Visitation is from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at Rude’s Funeral Home.
George R. Whitehead was born on March 15, 1921, in Sulphur Springs, Iowa, the son of William and Lola (Yerington) Whitehead.
George was raised in Sulphur Springs, Iowa, Brookings and Rapid City. He graduated from Rapid City Central High School in 1939.
He was active in sports in high school and set a South Dakota High School record in the high jump at 6-foot-1 ¾ inches, which stood for more than 40 years. He received an athletic scholarship to the University of Colorado, which he attended his freshman year, but transferred to the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and graduated with his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1943.
He was drafted into the Army, but World War II ended the day after he was to report to Ft. Snelling. George was then employed as an electrical engineer at Boeing Aircraft, in Seattle. Their main airplane at that time was the B-29, and among the planes that he worked on was the Enola Gay. George was also a private pilot of single-engine airplanes for several years.
He lived and worked in various parts of the country such as Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles and Arlington, Va. In 1949, he went to work in the Columbus, Ohio division of North American Aviation. George married Barbara Ann Moreland on Sept. 28, 1964, in Winchester, Va., and returned to South Dakota. They farmed in Brookings County, near Aurora.
George was the first to use field irrigation in that area. Barbara died on Nov. 30, 2005.
He was active in bowling in Brookings for more than 30 years and was the Men’s Bowling Association secretary/ treasurer during the late 1970s. He was inducted into the Prairie Lanes hall of Fame in 1978.
He also enjoyed attending SDSU athletic events with his wife Barbara, along with watching his son perform in the SDSU Pride and Pep Bands.
George is survived by his son Louis of Brookings; a sister, Martha Nelson of Grants Pass, Ore.; a brother, Lewis Whitehead of Brookings and a sister-in-law, Joyce Whitehead of Devils Lake, N.D.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Barbara, two brothers, William and Frank and a sister, Marion.
Condolences may be sent to the family through www.rudesfuneralhome.com.