Richard Robert “Rick” Heiser, 70, of Bloomington, died Wednesday (Dec. 5, 2018), surrounded by his loving family, at Northwestern Hospital, Chicago.
Rick was born June 7, 1948, in Richmond, Calif., to Jack and Maybelle Penney Heiser and grew up in Washington. His mother survives in Washington.
Rick married the love of his life, Susan Day, on Aug. 10, 1974, in Peoria, and she survives in Bloomington. Other survivors include his beloved children, Shari (Paul) Tockstein, Trenton, and Rob Wallace, Chicago. He is also survived by his four loving grandchildren, Rob (Theresa) Sussman, Milford, Del.; John Sussman, St. Louis, Mo.; Thomas (Elle) Sussman, Denver, Colo.; and Diana Sussman Tockstein, Trenton.
Rick was blessed with five loving siblings who all survive, John Heiser (Theesie) and Mike Heiser, Peoria; Karen (Dan) Gaumer, Decatur; and Steve (Dee Dee) Heiser and Mark (Jeanne) Heiser, Washington. He is also survived by his brothers-in-law, Bob (Donna) Day, Peoria, and Doug (Leslie) Day, Spring Bay, as well as many loving nephews and nieces.
He was preceded in death by his father, Jack Heiser.
Rick graduated from Washington High School. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1966-1970 and served as a torpedoman's mate during two tours of the Mediterranean. He was stationed in Mayport, Fla.
After his service, he graduated from Illinois Central College and then Illinois State University with an education degree. After their marriage, he and Susan and the kids moved to Normal where they lived in Cardinal Court, Illinois State University married student housing. It was this experience that began their lifelong interest and enjoyment of other people and cultures from around the world. Rick and Susan discovered St. Robert Bellarmine Newman Center where they were inspired by Sister Marilyn Ring and Joe Kelly to begin what became a lifelong commitment to social justice. Students and townspeople at the Newman Center became the core of their present faith community, “The Sunday Night Group.”
Rick was a founding member and devoted servant of the West Bloomington Revitalization Project, particularly the Tool Lending Library, the Community Garden and most of all, The Bike Co-Op.
Rick and Susan loved to travel and spent many wonderful years traveling the world, most especially to Ireland, always spending time with their “Irish family” Kevin and Geraldine Devane, in their favorite town, Dingle.
His family and all who knew him cherished Rick's kind and generous spirit, his sense of humor and willingness to give and share whatever others needed. Rick's life was guided by the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 25:34-40, whose final verse reads “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
A private family graveside service will be Tuesday in Trenton Cemetery, Trenton, presided by Father Ian Wetmore of St. Michael's Episcopal Church, O'Fallon.
A celebration of Rick's life in Bloomington-Normal will be at 1 p.m. Friday at First United Methodist Church, 211 N. School St., Normal. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to either Sister Joan Chittister Fund for Prisoners, 355 East Ninth St., Erie, PA 16503, or The West Bloomington Revitalization Project, 724 W. Washington St., Bloomington, IL 61701, and will be received through Moss Funeral Home, 105 S. Main, Trenton, which is serving the Heiser family.
Expressions of sympathy may be sent to www.mossfuneralhome.com.