Robert Jay Hengst

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Robert Jay Hengst, at the age of 94 years, went home to be with the Lord on April 12, 2019. Arrangements are under the direction of Rost funeral Home, McMurtrey Chapel.

Robert was born the youngest of 4 boys to Roy and Bertha Hengst on March 7, 1925 in Thurmont, Maryland. There were no sisters. After graduating high school in 1943, Robert was drafted into the Army during WWII, joining the 1647th U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Following basic training, the troops were sent to Europe where they walked the Normandy Beach all the way to Germany with the battles of “Battles of the Bulge “and “Rhineland” along the way. Robert experienced no injuries other than frostbite to the toes during the tour of duty. With the surrender of Germany in 1945, the 1647th was to be redirected to Japan for a land invasion until the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August, 1945 forcing Japans unconditional surrender. Needless to say, Robert and the rest of the men of the 1647th were thrilled with the end of the war and now they could return home. Thus, the 1647th was sent back home to New York City and Robert was officially discharged in March, 1946 with the rank of Corporal.

One interesting tidbit about Robert was that he always enjoyed walking. This even included his time in the Army and walking across Europe. Dad would tell anyone who cared to listen many times over how he always enjoyed walking. While in the Army, his fellow troops would frequently complain about all the walking while Robert would say he enjoyed the walking. The other men would tell Robert the “you have rocks in your head”!! Even in his old age, with his walked and all hunched over, he would say “come with me for a little walk”!

After his discharge from the Army, Robert went to work at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland to fulfill his lifelong dream of being a firefighter. He would then meet Alice Crapster to whom he would marry on July 10, 1949 and remained faithful until death, over 68 years later, when Alice went home to be with the Lord on May 30, 2018. To this union was born a son, Wayne Robert. In 1959, due to breathing issues with Alice and needing a dryer climate to live in, the move was made to Alamogordo, New Mexico where he continued his work as a firefighter at Holloman, AFB. There, a second son was born named Thomas Jay. This would be their only two children. During their time in New Mexico, they took a vacation to Idaho and with the mountains and fishing opportunities, they decided to make the move to their final destination. In 1967, Robert was provided with the opportunity to accept a position in the fire department at Mountain Home AFB which he readily accepted and the move was made to Idaho.

They would make Mountain Home their home until their death. Robert continued his dream job as a firefighter at Mountain Home AFB until 1979 when he retired as the assistant fire chief. After retirement, Robert was active with the VFW, American Legion, Senior Center and of course Faith Lutheran Church. In 2001, both Robert and Alice were honored to serve as Grand Marshalls of the annual Air Force Appreciation Day. They would continue these endeavors until around the age of 85 when the ravages of dementia, osteoarthritis and general ill health would make doing much more than just surviving impossible.

Both of his sons as well as very nice neighbors such as Jean and Bev Crisman and in home nursing care with Pam Marchant and others made it possible for Robert an Alice to remain in their home for some time. On February 25, 2016, Robert was moved to the Idaho State Veterans Home in Boise due to advancing dementia and immobility. The care he received there was exceptional and the entire family is grateful.

Robert is survived by his 2 sons, a daughter in law, 7 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren.

May he rest in peace. To the Lord Jesus be the praise. “For God so loved the world the He gave his only beloved Son; that whosoever believeth in Him would have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Donations can be made in Roberts name to the Idaho State Veterans Home, 320 Collins Rd, Boise, ID 83702.