Vance Hege, 73, of Columbus died peacefully at his home on February 19, 2022. Vance was born on January 6, 1949 to parents George Franklin Hege and Elsie Louise (Whittington) Hege.

Shortly after graduating from Hauser High School in 1967, Vance enlisted in United States Marine Corps serving from January, 1968 until his honorable discharge in March, 1970 as a Corporal in the A 1/9 3rd Marine Division. Vance received the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and was an Expert Rifleman. During his time with the Marines, Vance was assigned as part of the Marine detachment aboard the USS Hornet, and was on board when the Apollo 11 astronauts splashed down in the Pacific Ocean.

With the entire world watching, Vance could be seen as one of four Marines guarding the Mobile Quarantine Trailer holding the newly returned Apollo 11 crew while President Nixon welcomed them home. Vance’s picture with the Apollo 11 crew was featured in the August 1, 1969 issue of Time magazine.

A life-long farmer, Vance enjoyed raising livestock and riding horses and mules. A gifted storyteller, Vance always had a tale to tell. Vance’s greatest pride and joy was his family, especially his children and his grandsons. In his later years Vance enjoyed playing poker with friends, and bringing popcorn and candy to his grandsons and great-nephews. Vance could always be seen around in his standard bibbed overalls and his signature mustache. Vance loved to sing old songs, and could frequently be heard singing the Marine Corps hymn. Vance always carried cash in his pocket just in case he found “one hell of a deal.” He loved Ranger cookies, Copenhagen and watching his grandkids play in the creek. He was a member of Camon Lodge 343 of Hope.

Vance is survived by his son, George Hege (Jenny Lonaker) of Columbus; daughter Stacy (Trey) Tapke of Crestview Hills, Kentucky; grandsons Vance Elias Hege of Columbus; Richard H. Tapke IV and Theodore Vance Tapke of Crestview Hills, Kentucky; step-Grandson Tyler Lonaker of Columbus; sister Cindy (David) Sturgeon of Indianapolis; brother Mark (Tammy) Hege of Columbus; his mother Elsie Hege of Hope; former spouse Jayne Hege of Columbus, nieces, nephews, great-nieces and nephews, cousins, and other relatives.\

Vance was preceded in his death by his father George Hege.

In keeping with Vance’s wishes, cremation was planned. A Celebration of Life was held on Friday, February 25, 2022, at the Hope Moravian Church MOC at 202 Main Street, Hope, Indiana followed by a special remembrance

Arrangements were handled by Norman Funeral Home of Hope.

In lieu of traditional flowers, memorials can be made to Hope FFA care of Hauser High School, 9273 IN-9 Hope, Indiana 47246 or Redwood Rehabilitation Center, www.redwoodnky.com.

Online condolences may be expressed to the Hege family at www.normanfuneralhome.net.