George Fay Batchelder: 1929 – 2016
George Fay Batchelder
1929 – 2016
George Fay Batchelder was called home on Saturday, July 23 at the Ft. Meade VA in Sturgis, SD.
George was born on September 28, 1929 at the Methodist Hospital in Rapid City, SD to Alice (McLinn) and Forrest Batchelder. He was the youngest of five children and grew up in Scenic, SD, where he found his love for playing basketball and breeding horses.
On Christmas Day 1950, in Seattle, Washington, he married Ina Arney. They were blessed with three sons who filled their lives with joy, Frank, Blake, and George Fay (Butchie). In 1951, George joined the Air Force and was honorably discharged in 1953.
George’s most exciting and blessed events were the births of his two grandchildren, Travis and Jayda Faye. George loved and spoiled them, like he did most children, every chance he got. They always had the best horses and were promised a childhood filled with adventure. Some would say George could be a very stubborn man, but Sissy (Jayda) could get him to do almost anything.
In 1992, two very special kids entered his life, Chris and Leigh Bailey. He raised them for several years and George loved having a girl the same age as his granddaughter. Of course, he ensured that they made many wonderful memories together. Leigh has continued to be a significant part of his life, giving him three “grand-children,” who enjoyed sharing countless scoops of ice cream and swings on the porch with him.
He will forever be remembered for his love of horses, children, and basketball. George took pride in his work ethic and vast knowledge of horses. Many people, both near and far, can attest to the impact he had on their lives. George loved through his actions, was never too busy to make time for you, and helped so many start their professional lives with his generosity, kind spirit, and a constant smile. He truly never met a stranger, and traveled the country trading horses and making lifelong friends.
George enjoyed living life on the edge and doing what he loved, breeding and trading horses and spending time with his family. He raised some of the best foundation bred broodmares that included quarter horses, paints, and appaloosas. He also had a hand in bringing Tibetan Yak to Rapid City and raising exotics like the Herefalo, which he’d always be excited to talk about if asked.
George is survived by his sons, Blake (Terry) and Frank (Lila), his grandchildren, Jayda and Travis, and special loved ones, Leigh Songstad (Bailey), and her children Brody, Breckin, and Aspen. He was preceded in death by his son, Butchie, brothers and sister, and parents.
Visitation begins at 1 p.m., with services at 2 p.m. Monday, Aug. 1, at Kirk Funeral Home. The family will host a gathering for family and friends at Blake’s home immediately following the services to celebrate George’s life with his favorite dessert, “Pie and Ice Cream.”
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established for Western Resources Adult Day Center in Rapid City.