Sioux Falls - Jay Albion Heath, age 72, died peacefully at home on Monday, July 28, 2014, four and a half months after receiving a diagnosis of esophageal cancer.
Memorial Mass of Christian Burial will begin at 2:00 PM on Friday, August 1, 2014 at St. Lambert Catholic Church in Sioux Falls. Family present visitation will begin at 5:00 PM on Thursday at George Boom Funeral Home with a liturgical wake service beginning at 7:00 PM. Memorials will be forwarded toward a donation to Perry Nature Area, a beloved and favored recreational spot for Jay and his family.
Jay was born on November 30, 1941 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire to Betty Eastman and George Willis Heath, Jr. He grew up in New England and the South until moving to Anchorage, Alaska to begin 7th grade. After attending Anchorage High School, Jay left school at the age of 17 to join the U.S. Navy in 1959, where he obtained his G.E.D., and began his lifetime love of maritime travel.
After completing his enlistment, Jay moved to Los Angeles, where he attended community college while working in the defense industry. He then moved to Aberdeen, South Dakota, where he pursued his college education while working as a television cameraman. It was in Aberdeen that he met his beloved future wife Marcella. The couple was united in marriage on November 28, 1969 in Grenville, SD. Following graduation, Jay entered the U.S. Peace Corps, where he spent two years as a teacher trainer, traveling extensively across South and Central America. The couple made their home in Sioux Falls, SD in 1979.
Following the Peace Corps, Jay served as a teacher, principal, and superintendent in South Dakota and Minnesota. After completing his Doctoral Degree in Education from the University of South Dakota, Jay served as a Professor of Educational Administration in Nebraska and South Dakota. As an educational leader, he led over 20 accreditation teams for school evaluations across Europe, Asia, North Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and the Pacific. Jay retired in 2006.
Jay and Marcella were especially proud of their sons Jason and Derek. These fine young men were the central focus of their lives. Jay was a member of St. Lambert Catholic Church. He was a past officer in the South Dakota Canoe/Kayak Organization. He was an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) Board Member. He was a volunteer at the Sertoma Park Outdoor Campus. He was active on the Minnehaha County Museum Board and Historical Association and the South Dakota State Archeological Association.
Grateful for having shared his life are his wife, Marcella of Sioux Falls; two sons, Jason (Courtney) Heath of Chicago, IL, and Derek (Molly Brown) Heath, Sioux Falls; and one sister, Patricia (Johnny) McCaskill, Jackson, TN. Preceding him in death were his parents Betty Eastman Baiocco, George Willis Heath, and a sister, Nancy.