Dr. Gay Richard Hyre of Huntington, WV passed away peacefully at home on Tuesday, November 20, 2018, after a brief illness. Funeral services will be Saturday, November 24, 2018, at 2:00 p.m. at Beard Mortuary with the Reverend Dr. Bill Wilson and the Reverend Bill DeMoss officiating. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. Born on March 1, 1920 in Frenchton, West Virginia, Dr. Hyre, the son of Rose Mary Hofstetter (a Swiss-German immigrant) and Absalom Alexander Hyre, grew up in Buckhannon, West Virginia. His siblings Frank, Genevere, and Goldie, and a grandson, John Aaron Hyre, predeceased him. He is survived by his devoted wife of fifty-four years, Patricia Burks Hyre. Additional survivors include children of his first marriage, Richard Alexander Hyre (Suzanne) of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Nancy Ann Hyre of Baltimore, Maryland, and grandson Richard Alexander Hyre II. He is also survived by his stepdaughter, Dr. Rebecca F. McNeer (Gregory) and her sons, Dr. T.R. Kinsey, Jr. (Mary Lynn) of Evans, Georgia, and Andrew F. Kinsey (Kelly), of Huntington, and their children Isabella Rabun Kinsey and Abigail Elizabeth Kinsey of Georgia, and Ella Burks Kinsey and Fletcher Morris Kinsey of Huntington. His life made a huge difference in the lives of his family, providing lifelong lessons through an unimpeachable work ethic, demonstrating the importance of talking to people of all walks of life, remaining positive, and believing in the value of education. He was an exceptional, involved, and noble grandfather and a loving great grandfather. A graduate of Buckhannon-Upshur High School, Dr. Hyre received his pilot’s license at age nineteen. Working at Martin’s Aircraft Factory in Baltimore at the beginning of World War II, he had a deferment, but chose to enlist in May of 1943 in the aviation cadet program, training in Mississippi, and attending bombardier school in Texas. He was assigned as a lieutenant to the 392nd Bomb Group, flying B-24s, based in Wendling, just outside Norwich, England, on May 12, 1944. His crew flew its first mission on May 24, 1944, and was only the ninth of 47 crews assigned to the 599th to finish a full tour of 30 missions over France (including D-Day), Belgium, Holland, and Germany on August 1, 1944, with two three-day passes and a week’s “flak leave” in Blackpool in between. For his service, he was awarded three Air Medals with Oak Leaf Clusters and the Distinguished Flying Cross. He had wonderful stories to tell about his service and the people who served with him. Following the completion of his missions, he did briefings for bombardiers, mustering out of the service in 1945. Dr. Hyre started school at West Virginia Wesleyan in Thanksgiving of that year, then transferred to West Virginia University to complete science courses that would enable him to attend the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery at the University of Maryland. After completing dental school, Dr. Hyre, now a Captain, practiced dentistry for service members on Guam for two years. Following the completion of that tour, when he was passing through Huntington, a former dental school friend, Dr. Joseph Sheppe, asked, “Why don’t you stay here?” He did, practicing dentistry in Huntington from 1952-2001. He loved his work, and he loved his patients. Dr. Hyre did free dental examinations for members of athletic teams at Huntington East High School for many years. He was named a Kentucky Colonel, an Admiral of the Cherry River Fleet, and a distinguished West Virginian. He had dental surgery privileges at both hospitals and served a term as president of the Huntington Dental Society. He was also an avid golfer at Guyan Golf and Country Club, where members of his foursome, Dr. Charles McCay, Dr. Hans Dransfeld, and Big Jack Moses have predeceased him. We are grateful to his exceptional and compassionate caregivers. Those who wish may make memorial contributions to Hospice of Huntington. Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.beardmortuary.com.
Hospice of Huntington
1101 6th Avenue, Huntington WV 25701