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George Phillip Honey ( Winthrop 1940 )

posted: Jan 1, 2002

Smokejumping lost one of its original pioneers with the passing of George Phillip Honey on Dec. 3, 2001, in Entiat, WA, at the age of 95.
George began his career with the Forest Service in 1940, jumping out of Winthrop. He was also a spotter and cargo dropper and patrolled the wilderness for fires. From 1943 to 1946, he lived at 8 Mile Ranch and managed the ranch and the Forest Service horses and mules. During the '40s, George and his partner, Francis Lufkin (NCSB '40), trapped in the Pasayten area and hunted cougars.
In 1948 he went to work for the Road Department and became Construction and Maintenance Foreman for Roads and Trails in the Chelan National Forest, which at that time included the Okanogan National Forest. His first project after becoming foreman was the "Great Flood of 48" and he was deluged with work on washed-out roads and trails. He continued with the Road Department until his retirement in 1967.
George was born on Feb. 10, 1906, at Fort Walla Walla, WA, to Allen and Anna (Enfield) Honey. That same year George moved with his parents and two older brothers by riverboat up the Columbia River to homestead on Tunk Mountain near Conconully, WA. He attended school in Conconully and Pleasant Valley.
George was an avid horseman and worked at that trade for many years, participating in many area rodeos. He enlisted in the Army and served in the Philippine Islands. While in the Army, he became a boxer. Returning from the Army, he boxed professionally under the name "Soldier George Honey." On Sept. 7, 1932, he married Hazel Zackman. They had two sons, George, Jr. and Raymond.
After retiring from the Forest Service, he worked for Wagner Lumber as foreman in the rock crushing operations, as well as for Rollie Schrier's Cement Plant and Archie Walter's feedlot in the Basin. George was an avid hunter, bagging many species of big game. His favorite hunting was in British Columbia with his brother, Leonard, and son, George, Jr.