Mass of Christian Burial
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Life Story / Obituary
A kind person through and through, Harold Heikes lived his life to the fullest. Any amount of time he was with his beloved family, his heart was content. Cherished by his extended family, he will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered for the many special memories he shared with each and every one of them.
Harold’s story begins in the midst of the decade known as the Roaring Twenties. The nation was thriving in aviation technology and the automobile industry. Jazz music was making its way into every living room with the convenience of the home radio. It was an exciting time indeed and Harry F. and Esther Dalton Heikes were especially proud to welcome home their newborn son, Harold Dalton, on August 1, 1924, in Vicksburg, Michigan. Joining his older brother, Everett, he completed the family. Born to a set of hard-working parents, he never took a single day of pleasure for granted.
Harold lived a typical childhood of the times. He enjoyed playing pick up with the other neighborhood kids as well as fishing and ice skating. Small in stature, he didn’t make his high school football team. Instead, he put his mind to making a wage as a store clerk at the local bakery as well as the Kroger store. By the time he graduated with the Class of 1942 from Vicksburg High School, he had a strong set of skills and discipline. Although not by choice, he was determined to serve his country when he was drafted into the United States Army. For the two years, six months, and twenty-nine days he served in the Army Corps he made his country proud. He was a top gunner on a B-25 serving in the South Pacific. When he was honorably discharged, he returned to the area with memories to last a lifetime. Following in his father’s footsteps, Harold began work as a millwright at the paper mill. He worked tirelessly for a remarkable thirty-eight and a half years there.
Not to be forgotten was the meeting of Eleanor Woodhams. She had lost her first husband to leukemia. Harold was immediately attracted to her confidence on the dance floor and the rest was history! They began dancing from the first night they met and well into their later years. The happy couple were married on November 29, 1968 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in a small family wedding. Harold accepted her five children; Ronald, Alan, Barbara, Robert, and Michael, as his own. As a family, they cherished many wonderful years gathered together at the family cottage Harold built on Pine Lake. Each and every holiday they celebrated out at the cottage sharing good fun and laughter. Above all else, these were the times that Harold cherished the most. He loved sharing his love of the water as well as good company with his beautiful family.
Eleanor and Harold had a special bond. He treated her like a queen and never missed a single day without a goodnight kiss! Once retired, their love for another was felt as they circled the ballroom dance floor three evenings a week! In addition to their shared love and interest for dancing, they also enjoyed traveling extensively together. After taking in as much as they could of the beautiful United States, including Hawaii, they also traveled abroad. Some of their trips included New Zealand, Europe, the Panama Canal, Mexico, the Caribbean, and twice to Australia! They were a perfect match for travel as they loved taking in the local sights and food. Sadly, she passed in 2013, leaving Harold to lean on the support of their friends and family to see him through. He shifted his focus to his family and his many special hobbies.
During recent years, he spent quality time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A lover of all people, Harold made everyone he met feel special. There is no doubt that the greatest legacy he leaves behind is the unconditional love and positive regard he had for others. May his many special friends and loved ones always reflect on the strong set of values he modeled for them. May their hearts be filled with joy knowing they were loved by him.
Harold Heikes, age 96 of Kalamazoo died on May 29, 2021. He was born on August 1, 1924 in Vicksburg MI, the son of Harry and Esther (Dalton) Heikes. Members of Harold’s family include children: Terri (Scott) Dunlop, Gary Heikes, and Bonnie Heikes; and one grandson, Brian. In addition to his children, he is survived by Eleanor’s children: Ronald Woodhams, Alan (Cynthia) Woodhams, Barbara (Gregory) Deibert, and Robert (Margaret) Woodhams; 10 grandchildren; and 8 great-grandchildren. Besides his wife, Eleanor, he was preceded in death by his brother, Everett, and step-son, Michael Woodhams.
Visit with family and friends from 5-7 PM on Friday (June 4) at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr., Kalamazoo, 269-375-2900 where the Rosary will be recited at 6:30 PM. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 11:30 AM Saturday (June 5) at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Kalamazoo. Please visit Harold’s personal memory page at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com where you can read his Life Story, archive a favorite memory or photo, and sign his online guestbook. Memorial Contributions can be made to Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes.