An interview with George Heim

Johnsburg Historical Society: From the Archives

George Heim

George Heim Photo provided

— When the Living History team of Johnsburg Historical Society arrived at Harvey Acres in North River in August, 2012, George Heim was walking around the perimeter of his large vegetable garden and applying coyote urine to discourage deer. Another George tip: play an outdoor radio all night to keep the deer away.

Born in Albany in 1934, George was the son of George Heim, Secretary to the majority leader of the State Senate, a position he held until retirement at age 84. Young George attended St. Teresa’s Catholic School, Christian Brothers Academy, and Manhattan College. He admits to flunking the course, “Marriage Guidance,” in his senior year and having to re-take the course at nearby Iona College.

After graduation a young man faced the choice of being drafted or voluntarily going into one of the services. George enlisted in the Navy and began his career in naval aviation. Soon he switched to naval intelligence where he remained for the rest of his career. George’s assignment was photo analysis, a position in which he read photography, developed targets and briefed pilots.

In U.S. controlled Panama George served as head of Naval Investigative Services Office. While there, one attempted overthrow of the government by three Panamanian colonels lasted one week.

In Saigon during the Vietnam war, George awoke to the sound of explosions. Thinking it was bombs, he hid under his mattress for an hour – and then realized it was New Year’s Eve and the sound was from firecrackers at an impromptu celebration.

For four years George served two tours in Vietnam and was assigned to aircraft carriers, including the Intrepid, now a New York City museum.

After years of visiting exotic places, Morocco, Panama, Lebanon, Vietnam, Germany, and on U.S. bases in San Diego, Washington, D.C. and Norfolk, VA, George and his former wife Mary purchased Garnet Hill Lodge. They opened in 1977 on White Water Derby weekend. Dr. John Rugge and his guests filled the lodge, and still return to this day for White Water Derby.

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