Richard G. “Dick” Heckman, age 88, died Tuesday, June 23, 2009 at Good Samaritan Health Center in Merrill. He was born 8 October 1920 to Raymond and Mary (Shafer) Heckman in Madison, WI. In 1930 they moved back to Merrill, where Richard graduated from Merrill Senior High School. He was the 1938 Anson Scholarship winner, and graduated from Notre Dame University in 1942, with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Commerce.
On 10 June 1943, Richard married Elsie Hoehne of Merrill, in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Entering the U.S. Army in the summer of 1943, he attended Officer Candidate School at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD, receiving a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant of Ordnance.
Richard served as a statistical control officer, coordinating shipping of war material from east coast ports during World War II, leaving active duty after the war as a 1st Lieutenant.
In 1948, LaSalle Extension University of Chicago, IL granted him a diploma in Public Accounting and C.P.A. Training. Returning to Merrill in 1949, Richard was employed as an accountant with Cloverbelt Cooperative Services of Wausau, where he worked until joining Ward Paper Company in Merrill in 1953 as an accountant/comptroller.
After retirement in 1982, Richard entered the deaconate program for the Diocese of Superior. He was ordained a Deacon at St. Robert Bellarmine Church by Bishop Raphael
M. Fliss on 8 February 1986. He and Howard Zuch became the first deacons ordained in the Superior Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church. He found his work as a deacon very fulfilling.
Richard served as First Ward Alderman in Merrill for a number of years in the 1960’s. In his retirement years, he maintained a small business providing molded rubber stamps and related supplies. His hobbies and interests included photography, genealogy, and coin, stamp, and camera collecting. He had a passion for carving wooden walking sticks from a variety of native tree species.
Richard and Elsie were married for 60 years; she preceded him in death on 6 December 2003. Survivors include two daughters: Susan (James) Bialecki, Onalaska, WI; and Patricia McCarron, Woodbury, MN; four sons: Michael (Angela Werner), Wilton, ME; Steven (Frances), Clintonville, WI; Philip (Nancy), Monona, WI; and Paul (Sara Slayton), LaCrosse, WI
He is further survived by fifteen grandchildren, two great grandchildren, and three sisters: Jeanne Heckman, Merrill; Mary Beth Heckman, Carmel, CA; and Barbara (Jack) Angus, Omaha, NE. One sister, Irene Gervais of Merrill preceded him in death.
Visitation will be Friday, June 26th, from 4-8 pm, at the Waid Funeral Home, with a prayer service at 7pm , and Saturday from 9am until the time of service at the church.
Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:00 am, Saturday, June 27th at St. Francis Catholic Church. The Rev. Fr. James Horath will officiate, with burial to follow at St. Francis Catholic Cemetery, with graveside military honors by VFW Post #1638.
If desired, memorial contributions may be made to the Bell Tower Residence Memorial Fund for financial assistance to residents who are in need.
The Waid Funeral Home assisted the family with arrangements.
Online tributes may be made at www.waidfuneral.com