Kyra Joy Talbot Crago
January 20, 2022
Kyra Joy Talbot (Hearsey) Crago 94, of Spearfish, South Dakota, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, January 11, 2022, at Garden Hills Assisted Living in Spearfish.
Kyra was born on June 14, 1927, in Palmerston North, New Zealand, the daughter of William Wran and Ethel Mary (Youngman) Hearsey. She was the youngest of six children.
Phyllis, Irma, Raymond, Ivan and Neville were her older brothers and sisters. It was an active family with each of the children participating in various sports and activities. Kyra studied ballet, tap and toe dancing from an early age, becoming quite proficient and later teaching ballet to young girls.
She met her future husband, Cecil Glen Crago of Sundance/Beulah, Wyoming, at a dance when she was 16 (chaperoned by her mother) while he and his US Army unit were on R&R for several weeks in New Zealand after fighting on Guadalcanal in the Pacific. They only saw each other for a few weeks and only on the weekends before he and his unit returned to the fight.
They wrote back and forth and in one of his letters Cecil asked Kyra if she would marry him if he survived the war. She said "yes".
In 1946 after the war was over, Kyra, now 19 and true to her promise, boarded the ship Rangitata in Wellington, New Zealand, bound for New York City via the Panama Canal to meet Cecil and travel to Ogden, Utah, where they were to be married and where Cecil was going to attend Barber's College. Kyra's mother had pneumonia and was unable to see her off, so her father and sister escorted her to the dock in Wellington.
Throughout her life, Kyra loved to tell stories and one she would tell was of her and her friend almost missing the boat while they were shopping when the boat briefly stopped in Panama and somehow losing the gloves her mother had sewn for her in the rush to re-board.
When the ship arrived in New York City the Longshoremen were on strike, so the ship traveled on to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Cecil had to reroute so he could meet her there.
Due to Canadian laws at the time, Kyra and Cecil were required to be married there so on September 14, 1946, they found a Presbyterian minister to marry them who called in a couple of neighbors as witnesses. Kyra said her wedding meal was a baloney sandwich rather than the feast that awaited them in Ogden.
Upon graduating from Barber's college, Cecil joined Joe Durfee at the Sundance Barber Shop and later became Sundance's sole barber until his passing in 1990. Cecil and Kyra's son Nevil "Ross" was born in Ogden and their son Russell Wayne was born in Sundance five years later.
When Cecil was called up to fight in the Korean War, Kyra and young Ross spent that year with Annajean and Charlie Rayburne in Spearfish.
After Cecil's safe return, Kyra began teaching ballet and tap to young girls in her home. Kyra later became a Teacher's Aide at Sundance Elementary School assisting Kindergarten, first and second grade teachers.
Kyra then went on to managing the Crook County Museum and Art Gallery where she loved visiting with guests, artists and especially the children. Kyra retired when Cecil's health began to fail in late 1989 early 1990.
Kyra was proud to be an American and faithfully wore the flag pin throughout her life that was given her when she became a naturalized citizen. She especially loved giving a "flag talk" to young and old explaining the symbolism of the American flag and its etiquette.
Kyra and Cecil bowled in league bowling in Sundance and were very active in the Masonic Lodge and Eastern Star where Kyra was a fifty plus year member.
Kyra was always adventurous and ready to travel. Over the years she traveled to Hawaii, California, Texas, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C., visiting her sons and their families.
She traveled on extended stays with her son Russell and his family while he was a US Army officer stationed in Saudi Arabia and St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands. She was able to travel back to New Zealand to visit her family on three different occasions. The last trip was with her son Russell and his wife Cindy and daughter Katharine.
Kyra moved to Spearfish in 2001, where she lived in her own home near her son Russell after he retired from the Army and moved to Spearfish. She moved to Garden Hills Assisted Living in Spearfish in August of 2020.
Kyra loved her family, grandchildren and great grandchildren and was known for staying in touch with them and her friends with many cards and letters, which were always in her beautiful handwriting and often included an original verse that she loved to create. Many times, they were adorned with the butterflies that she so loved.
Wherever she went, Kyra loved to visit, make new friends and encourage others in doing well. With a big smile she always left them with a pleasant farewell of "Cheerio".
Kyra is survived by sons, Ross and his wife Robin of Spearfish, Russell and his wife Cindy of New Market, Alabama; grandson, Ryan and his wife Morgan of Austin, Texas and their daughters Charlie and Goldie; granddaughters, Carley and her husband Doug Shook of San Diego, California and Katharine Carman of Pueblo, Colorado; nieces, Marlene (Chris) Lynam of New Zealand, Nevina (Bob) Knight of New Zealand, Philippa Bain of New Zealand, Amanda (Eddie) Nieunelaar of New Zealand, Patricia (Bruce) Gardiner of New Zealand, Cheral (Ed) Mann of Australia and Annabelle (James) Neuzil of Rapid City, South Dakota; nephews, Richard Crago of Rapid City, Neville Bain of New Zealand and Robin Hearsey of New Zealand.
Kyra was preceded in death by her husband, Cecil Glen Crago; sisters, Phyllis and Irma; brothers, Raymond, Ivan and Neville Hearsey.
A funeral service was held on Monday, January 17, 2022, at the Black Hills National Cemetery, Sturgis, South Dakota, with Pastor Jim Roberts officiating. In lieu of flowers please make a donation to Electa Chapter #5 OES which you can mail to P.O. Box 103, Sundance, WY 82729.
Arrangements are under the care of Fidler-Isburg Funeral Chapels and Isburg Crematory of Spearfish. Online condolences may be written at http://www.fidler-isburgfuneralchapels.com