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Orville John Hengen

White Lake, SD

1936, 4726, Crow Creek, SCS-1 Truck Driver

Orville Hengen was in the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1936. Orville became a truck driver at CCC Camp Crow Creek near Chamberlain, SD. Mr. Hengen's home town was White Lake and he enrolled at Mitchell, SD. Orville Hengen's brother Elmer Hengen also served in the CCC. After his service in the CCC Orville joined the Army and was a tank driver during World War II.

Volunteers Kerry Conner and Otto Bochman from the CCC Museum of South Dakota delivered a CCC Boy pin from CCC Legacy to Orville Hengen on February 15, 2017. Orville's wife Lucille, son Robert and wife Marsha Hengen, son-in-law Bob Riggio were present. A two person team from KNBN television station captured the conversation.

CCC Boy Pin

In 2007, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Legacy was established through a merger between the Camp Roosevelt CCC Legacy Foundation and the National Association of CCC Alumni (NACCCA). The purpose of CCC Legacy is to continue the promotion of the CCC in America and pass the legacy of the CCC to following generations.

Orville and Lucille Hengen will be celebrating their 76th Wedding Anniversary in March of this year.

Orville and Lucille HengenOrville and Lucille Hengen - 75th Anniversary Photo


Orville John Hengen Sr, 100, was born in White Lake, SD on October 24, 1919 to Melinda and John Hengen. He was raised with three brother and two sisters. He lived through the Dust Bowl, the Great Depression, joined the CCC, and fought in WWII as a tanker in the 2D Armored Division. He and Lucille, his wife of 78 years, raised six children in White Lake and Rapid City. He was admired and adored by his children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. A very kind and gentle man, Orville went to Heaven on July 4, 2020.

In 1959 the family moved to Rapid City. Orville was a mechanic for James Motor Company and Black Hills Oldsmobile and Cadillac. Although he had only an 8th grade education, you would have thought he had a PhD in mechanics. He had a mind that could build things from scratch and could repair anything; he knew re-purposing before it was a word. He retired in 1988 but continued working from home, fixing whatever friends and family brought him. At age 90 he pulled and repaired his last transmission out of a grandchild’s car.

Being 100 years old, Orville could share many, many stories and experiences of the past. He always respected other people’s views, never judged anyone and never argued politics.

Orville is survived by his children, Patricia (Joe) Weaver, Retired Army Colonel Orville (Maxine) Hengen Jr., Gayle (Frank) Effenberger, Linda (Bob) Riggio, and Robert (Marsha) Hengen; one sister, Donna; and numerous grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.

Orville was preceded in death by his wife, Lucille; son, David; great granddaughter, Daphne Riggio, three brothers and a sister.

Memorial services will be held 10:00am on Friday, July 10, 2020 at Bethlehem Lutheran Church. A private family burial will follow at Black Hills National Cemetery. Memorials may be directed to Bethlehem Lutheran Church or DAV in Rapid City.

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