Obituary of Jay A. Heezen
Jay A Heezen, age 76, went home to be with the Lord on August 6, 2020. He passed after a lengthy battle with dementia at the South Dakota Veterans Home in Hot Springs, with family by his side.
A Memorial service will be held at the Koehn Bros Funeral home in Stickney, South Dakota on Monday, August 10th at 7:00 pm. Chad Moser will be officiating. Please join family in sharing memories of Jay.
A private graveside service is being planned at a later date at the Fort Meade National Cemetery with full military honors.
Jay Allen Heezen was born May 23rd , 1944 to Merle and Evelyn (Harmon) Heezen at Plankinton, Sd. He attended country school at Pleasant Lake School where he graduated from the 8th grade in 1958. He then went on to attend Plankinton High School and graduated in 1962. Jay attended The School of Mines in Rapid City, SD his freshman year of college, afterwards transferring to the University of Minnesota, College of Agriculture for another year. Jay was then accepted at the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. He graduated from Veterinary School in 1968. After graduation, Jay enlisted in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corp and served from 1968 to 1970. During that time he attended food inspection school in Chicago, basic training in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He then attended officer training at Fort Polk, Louisiana. He went on to serve his country in Pleiku, Vietnam. While there; he cared for military working dogs, handled food inspections, public health, worked with special-forces in civilian affairs, taught animal husbandry, and introduced rearing of chickens, rabbits, and pigs to the native villages in the central highlands of Vietnam. Jay was honorably discharged in 1970.
Upon Jay’s return home, he started a veterinary practice outside Plankinton, S.D. and practiced in the area for 35 years. Jay married Darlene Bloch in 1970. They had twin boys, Jon and Jason, in July of 1971. Jay then married Phyllis Deboer in 1981 and soon after adopted Jennifer.
Jay was active in his church, serving on various boards, teaching Sunday-school and serving as a lay-minister. He went on a life changing mission trip to Haiti and was a member of the Christian Veterinary Mission. Jay served on the Plankinton School Board for 20 years. He also served on the South Dakota Veterinary Medical Association board for 5 years and was president in 2000. Jay was a member of the United Methodist Church, VFW, American Legion, South Dakota Veterinary Medical Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Bovine Practitioners, and American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners.
Jay retired from full time veterinary practice in 2006 and enjoyed his retirement in Keystone, SD.
Jay was thrilled to fulfill a lifelong dream, living off the grid in the Alaskan wilderness, being several hours from civilization in any direction. He was able to stay there for an entire summer and had many adventures to share with family upon his return. Jay thoroughly enjoyed spending time with his seven grandchildren; going on many hikes with them during their visits to ‘Papa’s Cabin’.
Jay is survived by two sons, Jason (Angie) Heezen of Plankinton, SD., and Jon Heezen of Hadley, Mn. A daughter, Jennifer (Bob) Hammond of Rapid City, SD. Seven grandchildren, Cody, Emma, and Noah Heezen; and Wyatt, Maggie, Karlie, and Morgan Heezen. Two brothers; Gary (Donna) Heezen of Rapid City, SD, and Dee (Sue) Heezen of Sioux Falls, SD. Two sisters; Jan Rippee of Midland, Tx., and Kathy (Dale) Neirby of Faribault, Mn. One sister in law; Edith Heezen of Fowler, Michigan, and many nieces and nephews.
Jay is preceded in death by his parents Merle and Evelyn Heezen, a brother Keith Heezen, and brother in law Larry Rippee.
Jay had a true passion for education and helping wounded veterans. As per his request, memorials may be sent to:
South Dakota Veterinary Medical Association (SDVMA)
North Campus Drive, SDSU
Brookings, SD 57007
Wounded Warriors In Action Foundation (WWIAF)
P.O. Box 444
Plankinton, South Dakota 57368
821 Main St,
PO Box 339
11 N. Main St.,
PO Box 613
Lake Andes, SD
309 W. Main St.,
PO Box 928 Parkston, SD
218 Main St., Stickney, SD
125 S. Corse St., Corsica, SD
220 S. Main Ave., Geddes, SD