George Whitley Kephart, age 91, passed away peacefully on the morning of Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019, after suffering a stroke on Oct. 27. He was born on a farm in Belpre, Kan. on May 12, 1928, to Virgil and Alta Kephart and attended Macksville High School.
When he was 18, he joined the US Army and was stationed in post-war Germany where he helped the Germans rebuild. In the Army he learned about electronics. When he returned home, he and his wife, June, moved to California where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from West Coast University, Los Angeles. He was hired by Rockwell International and was contracted to NASA, where he worked in the Space Systems Division on the Apollo project, the Space Station program, and GPS programs. He received special commendations for his work on Apollo 8, Apollo 15, and the Space Shuttle Columbia. In 1964, he and his wife adopted a baby boy, Gary, and in 1968, they adopted a baby girl, Julie. After June’s untimely death in 1977, George married Colleen Moore Lucy in 1980. In 1988, after he retired, he and his wife, Colleen, moved to Arkansas to live near her parents.
George was preceded in death by his parents, his brother, Billy, his wife, June, and his second wife, Colleen.
He is survived by his brother, Ron, of Dallas, Tex.; his sister, Janice Cofrancesco (Mark) of Las Vegas, Nev.; his son Gary Kephart (Laura) of Ladera Ranch, Cal.; his daughter Julie Kephart, of Trumansburg, NY; step-daughter Rexeen Jordan of Jonesboro; step-son, Ron Lucy (Anna) of Batesville; 8 grandchildren, Tyler Lucy (Kay), Amber Huff (Keith), Christopher Conrad, Michelle Jordan, Alex Jordan, Meghan Garcia(Jason), Amanda Rindahl (Mike), and Arlen Carter; 13 great grandchildren; 10 great-great grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Funeral Services will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019, at 2 p.m., Independence Missionary Baptist Church, Pleasant Plains, Ark., with Wesley Roberts officiating. Burial will follow at Kyler Cemetery. Arrangements by Qualls Batesville Funeral Service.
Visitation will be Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019, 6 to 8 p.m., at Qualls Batesville Funeral Service, 546 Harrison St., Batesville.
Pallbearers will include: Tyler Lucy, Patrick Kephart, Kendall Staggs, Brandon Langle, Chad Passmore, and Andy Pratt.
In lieu of flowers, one may contribute to the Kyler Cemetery Maintenance Fund, c/o Laura Guth, 3780 Batesville Blvd, Batesville, AR 72501.
Arrangements will be handled by Qualls Funeral Home of Batesville.