George William “Bill” Dayhuff, age 93 of Yankton, SD passed away peacefully Saturday, April 20, 2019 at Avera Sacred Heart Hospital, Yankton, SD surrounded by his loving family. Funeral services will be 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 24, 2019 at the United Church of Christ (Congregational), Yankton, SD with Rev. Kenn Leischner officiating. Burial will be in the Yankton Cemetery with Military Graveside Rites by the Ernest-Bowyer VFW Post # 791 Honor Guard at the SDANGHG. Visitations will be 5 to 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 23, 2019 at the United Church of Christ (Congregational), Yankton, SD. Visitations will resume one hour prior to the service at the church. The Opsahl-Kostel Funeral Home & Crematory, Yankton, SD is assisting with the service details. On line condolences may be sent at: www.opsahl-kostelfuneralhome.com.
Bill, as he was affectionately known, was born July 12, 1925 in California Junction, Iowa. From the age of three, Bill was raised by his Aunt and Uncle Audie and Ross Coulthard along with his siblings. Bill met the love of his life, Lucille Leona Gore in grade school. They quickly became sweethearts and enjoyed 75 years of marriage. Bill and Lucille were married in Blair, Nebraska on July 8, 1943, just shy of a year before he was drafted by the Army. Bill was deployed on Christmas Day 1944 and landed in Okinawa, Japan on April 1, 1945. Bill was in active combat during the Battle for Okinawa where he was shot by a sniper. By the grace of God, the bullet ricocheted off his dog tags. Bill fought valiantly and was highly decorated, receiving the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Rifleman’s Badge and Combat Infantryman Badge among many others and in the last couple weeks of his life, he was honored with the Quilt of Valor. Bill was honorably discharged May 15, 1946.
When Bill returned home, he and Lucille spent a brief period of time in Omaha before he took her with 30 dollars in his pocket and drove to Los Angeles, California to pursue the American Dream. Bill had several sales positions, climbing the ladder until he became National Sales Director for Regent Jack Manufacturing. While in California, Bill was blessed with the birth of a long-awaited son, Jeff. Bill was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and community member. He coached baseball, was a Boy Scout troop leader and was active in his church.
Bill moved his family to South Dakota because he believed in the values of the Midwest and saw an opportunity in Vermillion, buying a car dealership in 1970. Bill owned and managed Dayhuff Chevrolet Oldsmobile Cadillac for 10 years. Bill was a natural salesman, and his success won him many national sales awards which afforded him and Lucille the ability to travel extensively. Bill was active with the University of South Dakota and was instrumental in the planning and building of the DakotaDome. Bill sold the dealership in 1981 and moved to Yankton. Bill had several jobs in Yankton before he began working with his son at Dayhuff Enterprises which he enjoyed until the week of his passing. Bill loved his wife, family, and golf in that order. He was a member of Hillcrest Country Club for over 35 years and considered the members and golf pros part of his extended family. He was very passionate about golf, no matter if he was playing with his family and friends or watching it on TV. He was also a member of the Masons, Yankton Consistory, Shriners, Eastern Star, Elks, and VFW. He enjoyed all sports and was an avid supporter of his beloved Yotes. Bill’s granddaughter Billi Jo was the apple of his eye and he loved to watch her activities and support her in her academic success. Bill had a heart of gold and an award-winning smile that he greeted everyone with warmly.
Bill is survived by his wife, Lucille; son, Jeff (Marti) Dayhuff; granddaughter, Billi Jo and many nieces and nephews.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents, Lance and Lois Dayhuff; his aunt and uncle, Audie and Ross Coulthard; two siblings, Robert C. Dayhuff and Virginia C. (Dayhuff) Richardson; and daughter, Kathleen Ann.
A true hero and loved by so many, Bill will be fondly missed.
In lieu of flowers, contributions for the Bill Dayhuff Memorial at Hillcrest Country Club may be sent to 2206 Mulberry, Yankton, SD 57078.