George Brown Henley
March 12 1932-April 21, 2014
George Brown Henley was born in Pleasant Hill March 12, 1932, the son of George Vest and Gladys (Brown) Henley. He died Monday, April 21, 2014.
George was a member of First Presbyterian Church of Pleasant Hill since his youth. He attended Pleasant Hill schools and graduated high school in 1950. As a youth, he played saxophone in the high school band and participated in Boy Scouts, earning the rank of Eagle Scout and becoming an early member of the Tribe of Mic-O-Say, which was under the leadership of H. Roe Bartle himself at the time of his induction. George attended Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry in 1954. He served his country in the U.S. Army 1954-1956 and is a member of the American Legion.
George was a National Park Ranger in some of the most well-known parks in our nation including Tumacácori National Monument in Arizona, Grand Canyon National Park, Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, and Glazier National Park, near the Canadian border in Montana. He was involved in a terrible accident, and was badly burnt at Glazier Park in 1972 when a propane tank exploded, but was able to recover fairly well and then spent much of his career at Yellowstone National Park where he worked well into his 70s. He was an avid conservationist and earned a second Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Science in 1972 from Oregon State in Corvallis, Ore.
George was an amateur ham radio operator who communicated by morse code with people all over the world. He enjoyed fishing and hunting and loved to tinker with old radios and electronics. But his real passion was traveling the world, and besides his travels in the U.S. between National Parks, he also traveled Europe, Mexico, Central America and South America during off-season at the parks. George was not an extravagant traveler and generally went by bus with only a few possessions truly experiencing the cultures where he traveled. In his later years, he spent many winters down south in Mexico and Central America and studied Spanish at Academia Hispano Americana in 1974 and later taught English in Mexico at the Institute of Allende in San Miguel, Mexico.
George is survived by one sister, Mary Kay Fitzgerald and husband Jerry, of Harrisonville; and two nephews, Patrick Fitzgerald and wife Terri of Kingwood, Texas, and Scott Fitzgerald and wife Brenda, of Parkville. He also had two great-neices, Janna Fitzgerald and Megan Fitzgerald, of Kingwood, Texas, and great-nephew Brandan Fitzgerald, of Parkville. Those who knew George best have seen him off on many a journey, so as we see him off on this final journey, we pray that the light of the Lord will shine brightly upon his path and he will be re-united with many loved ones in Heaven.
Graveside services for George are scheduled for 3 p.m. Friday, April 25, at Pleasant Hill Cemetery.
In memory of George Brown Henley, the family suggests contributions to First Presbyterian Church of Pleasant Hill, 210 N. Jeffreys St., Pleasant Hill, MO 64080.
Arrangements: Wallace Funeral Home, 422 N. Lake St., Pleasant Hill, MO 64080; 816-987-2127.