Kenneth Edwin Heise, 89

Published 10:11 am Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Kenneth E Heise, 89, one the last of the “Greatest Generation,” went home to the Lord on Tuesday, June 10, 2014, at the Good Samaritan Home in Stillwater, Minn.



On Feb. 11, 1925, Ken was born to Tony and Irene Heise in Mankato, Minn. With his beloved sister Phyllis and his brothers Norman and Raymond, the Heise family faced the long hard days of the 1930s together. At Ken’s 14th year, the family moved to Austin, Minn., to find a better life. After his graduation from Austin High School in 1943, Ken immediately focused on serving his country in World War II. With a sincere love of country, Ken proudly enlisted in the United States Navy. He went on to serve his country courageously as a First Class Gunners Mate at the true height of the war in the Pacific Theater.

In late 1946, Ken returned home victorious to his family and his sweetheart Helen Schmitz, whom he had fallen in love with before he “shipped off.” On Jan 12, 1947, Ken and Helen were married at St. Augustine’s Church. Then it was off to the Milwaukee School of Engineering to learn a new trade. When they returned to Austin in the fall of 1947, Ken began his career at the Geo A. Hormel Co., from which he would retire in 1986 after 39 years of “goin’ to the pack. Ken and Helen were blessed with six healthy and happy children, 16 grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren. Children and family were always the highlight of life for Ken and truly nothing made him happier than being with his extended group of friends and family; any time, any place. Ken was proud to do what he could for the Austin community. As a member of Queen of Angels Catholic Church beginning in 1958, he served in many ways; especially as Bingo Caller, which he did weekly and without hesitation for 25 years. He was also a member of the local Moose Club 1180 and served as its Governor in 1978. And he enjoyed another kind of serving by running a bratwurst stand with Helen and the family at many local fairs from 1970-2001. We can still hear him bark, “Get ‘em while they’re hot.” Ken was also the long-time Secretary of the Moose Bowling League and captain of his bowling team, earning him his well-known nickname, “Captain Ken.” Outside of his duties with the Moose Club and VFW, Ken also had a great time being a Pacelli Booster Club member. Ken, simply put, was a man who strove to do his very best for his family and community. And, perhaps most importantly, Ken leaves us all with fun- filled memories of his great big laugh and his wonderful smiling face. He was simply a man of service who lived his life with love and laughter and a great faith in God.

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Ken is preceded in death by his parents, Tony and Irene; and two brothers, Norman and Raymond.

He is survived by his wife, Helen Elizabeth Heise (Schmitz); one sister, Phyllis; his six children, Randal (Kitty) of Prior Lake, Barry (Donna) of Mankato, Janet (Patrick) of Minneapolis, Steve of Stillwater, Tony (Linda) of Georgia, and Sally (David) of Stillwater; his 16 grandchildren, Ryan (Krissy), Jesse (Kristy), Drew (Sara), Marney (Brian), Mesa, Alec, Kia (Chris), Hilary (Tim), Lucas (Krissy), Katie, Steven, Ethan, Elizabeth, Zachary, James, and Joshua; and his 12 great grandchildren, Nate, Kaleigh, Gabby, Mycah, Joey, Josh, Eliah, McKenna, Levi, Parker, Gabrielle, and Nels.

A Memorial Mass will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, June 13, 2014, at Queen of Angels Catholic Church. Burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery with military gravesite rites performed by Austin American Legion Post No. 91 and the Austin VFW No. 1216. The visitation will be held after the mass, during the luncheon.