Life Story / Obituary
When reflecting on the life of Richard Heidler, words such as vibrant, funny, and goodhearted come to mind as just a few of the wonderful attributes that describe such an extraordinary man. He was a devoted family man who took his role as provider for his family to heart as he did whatever he could to give them a comfortable life. Richard was generous to the point of being willing to give the shirt off his back if someone needed it as he effortlessly put the needs of others ahead of his own. He loved things like dancing, motorcycles, and relaxing in front of his computer, but nothing was better than being surrounded by the ones he loved. Richard will never be forgotten.
It seems only fitting that Richard’s story began during a time that was as vibrant as he was. It was the 1950s when televisions were becoming part of our homes like never before, Elvis Presley took the music world by storm, and as the decade drew to a close we welcomed both Alaska and Hawaii as our 49th and 50th states. Nestled within this exciting time was the year 1952 that was filled with great joy for a bustling young family from Southeastern Michigan as they were blessed to add a healthy baby boy into the mix on June 6th in Pontiac. Richard Lee was the fourth of nine children born to his parents, Lelend and Patricia Heidler, and he was raised in the family home in Waterford alongside his siblings, John, Carol, Robert, Donald, Joe, Debbie, Tom, and Roger. As a boy he liked sledding and ice skating in the winter, and during the warmer months he enjoyed things like berry picking, catching frogs, and fishing in the neighborhood pond as he loved being outdoors in all seasons. Richard was a Cub Scout and attended local schools through the 11th grade.
At age 19, Richard had two children from a previous marriage; Greg and Cindy. With a desire to provide for his family he began working for Ford Motor Company where he established a rewarding career, retiring later in life. Also during this time Richard uncovered his love for motorcycles and bought his first one around the time he was 20 years old.
New and exciting changes were in store for Richard when he met his true love a bit later. Her name was Judith Heacock, and they met because she became friends with his sister, Debbie, which naturally led to her being introduced to Richard. After dating for a time he and Judy were deeply in love. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together they became husband and wife on July 7, 1984, which was a day Richard forever viewed as one of the best days of his life. Together they welcomed three children into their hearts and home, Brooke, Crystal, and Phillip. Richard and his family enjoyed spending time together. One of Crystal’s favorite memories of being together as a family was when they went to Grand Haven. He liked seeing the lighthouses and walking the beach.
Richard didn’t travel extensively, but he was able to get away once in awhile. He and Judy liked visiting Sleeping Bear Dunes prior to having children. Amusement parks, Great Bear Lodge, and camping were also experiences he treasured being able to share with his wife as well as with Brooke, Crystal, and Phillip. As their children grew older, Richard and Judy made a trip to Las Vegas to visit his daughter Brooke and her children, Ariel and Kimmy. He also loved being in attendance for the wedding of his niece, Michelle, where he satiated his love for another favorite activity - dancing. In fact, Richard was known for dancing wherever he was.
In his leisure time Richard enjoyed pursuing his interests. He was quite handy as he enjoyed making belts and trying his hand at fixing whatever was broken whether necklaces or leaf blowers. Richard enjoyed walking as well as skiing, hunting, and four wheeling. At home Richard enjoyed watching racing, and the super bowl between the Packers and the Steelers was a game he loved. He was a music lover who enjoyed listening to whatever was on, and playing Candy Crush on his computer kept him busy when relaxing at home. Richard had a special place in his heart for cats, and it was he who gave all three of their cats, ZZ, Snowtips, and Racer, who acted like a dog, their food and water despite the fact that he overfed them at times. Richard had a special place in his heart for each and every animal that came into his home.
Life became more difficult for Richard and his loved ones when he suffered a head injury in 1995. He had always been outgoing, but he became a bit less involved in gatherings, activities, and outings. Richard’s love for his family remained just as strong as it had been before the accident, and he continued to do what he could to ensure that they would forever be taken care of. He was not only determined to care for himself on his own, but he continued to strive to care for others.
With a journey that spanned times of great change in the world around him, Richard Heidler brought such joy to everyone he met. He worked hard and strived to make his family proud as they were behind his drive to succeed. As someone who enjoyed making others feel good, Richard was quick with a compliment. He will be deeply missed and forever remembered.
Richard Heidler died on July 8, 2014. Richard’s family includes his wife, Judy; children, Greg, Cindy, Brooke, Crystal, and Phillip; and grandchildren. Visitation will be held on Tuesday 1 p.m. until time of service 4 p.m. at the Neely-Turowski Life Story Funeral Home, 30200 Five Mile (between Merriman and Middlebelt). Please sign the guest book at www.TurowskiLifeStory.com