Dec. 12, 1939 - Sept. 1, 2007
COLLINS - Theodore A. Heitsche, 67, of Collins, died Saturday in his home after a lengthy battle with cancer.
He was born Dec. 12, 1939 in Norwalk, where he attended Norwalk High School. Later, he moved to Collins, where he raised his sons, ran his business and was the unofficial mayor. He began driving trucks for his father when he was 16 and that was his vocation for most of his life. Before owning his own trucking company, Heitsche Trucking, he drove for Ohio Body and K. B. Rowland, both of New London. He also taught Auto Body at the EHOVE Career Center in the late 70s and early 80s and continued to think of himself as a teacher after leaving the profession with his mentoring the neighborhood children. His garage was always a place where the youth of Collins could bring their mechanical problems and receive help and advice.
He was a 36-year member and active supporter of the East Townsend Masonic Lodge 322, where he served as worshipful master seven times. A former Boy Scout himself, he was also active with the local Boy Scouts when his sons were growing up. A life-long passion that has spanned generations of Heitsches is motorcycle riding and racing. Some highlights include sporting the national No. 2 Hare Scramble Plate, being a member of the local motorcycle group the Cardinals and a lifelong member of AMA and ABATE-CMRO, being part of the support staff for the six day ISDE in Europe, and riding in the Barstow to Vegas Race in 1973 and 1995 when he won his class at the age of 55. Restoring and customizing vehicles, especially Corvettes and Mack B-model trucks, was also something he deeply enjoyed as well.
He was an avid traveler and visited Europe and most of the states, including Alaska by motorcycle with his wife, Deedra, and his dog, Cinna.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by his children and their spouses, Ted and Stacy Heitsche of Collins, Joe and Heidi Heitsche of Collins, Steve and Jenny Heitsche of New London, and Renee and Anthony Taramelli of Oakdale, Pa.; eight grandchildren; a sister and brother-in-law, Helen and Walter Leber of Willard; three stepbrothers and their wives, Rod and Betty Williams of North Fairfield, David and Shirley Williams of Norwalk, and Luie Williams of West Virginia; two aunts; numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins; several adopted sons; his three loyal Dobermans; many, many wonderful friends; and an ex-wife, Janice M. Heitsche.
He was preceded in death by parents, Theodore Clark and Helen Viola (Sheaffer) Heitsche, and his maternal and paternal grandparents.
Friends may call from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Walker Funeral Home, 98 W. Main St., Norwalk, where a Masonic service will take place at 7:30 p.m. An additional hour of viewing will take place from 4 to 5 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home, with a memorial service following. The Rev. Don Lautzenheiser will officiate. Following the service will be a time for remembering at the East Townsend Lodge 322, Hartland Center Road, Collins.
Memorial gifts may be sent to the following organizations: East Townsend Lodge 322, 4500 Hartland Center Road, Collins, Ohio 44826; Huron County Humane Society, 246 Woodlawn Avenue, Norwalk, Ohio 44857 or Stein Hospice Center Family Foundation, 1200 Sycamore Line, Sandusky, Ohio 44870. Online condolences may be made at www.edwalkerfuneralhome.com.