Francis "Fritz" Heissel, 77, of Le Mars, died Wednesday, July 13, 2005, at Floyd Valley Hospital in Le Mars.
Francis Bernard Heissel was born Aug. 9, 1927 at Sacred Heart Hospital in Le Mars, the son of William F. and Elizabeth L. (Mairose) Heissel. He graduated from Merrill High School in 1945. Following his education, Fritz farmed with his parents. He would later work for Hoffman Electric in Le Mars and Ludwig's Locker Plant in Merrill. He began his truck-driving career with Dale Zimmerman Trucking and later drove for Meis Seed and Feed both in Le Mars.
On Aug. 20, 1953, Fritz and Joan Ellen Clifford were united in marriage at Canton, S.D. They made their home in Le Mars. In 1958, Fritz started his 26-year career with Wells' Dairy in Le Mars. He started as a country retail driver and finished as a semi driver. Fritz was forced to retire in 1984 following a heart attack.
Fritz was a member of Assumption Catholic Church in Merrill until 1956 when he became a member of St. James Catholic Church in Le Mars. He was a longtime member of the Le Mars Volunteer Fire Department and served for several years as its assistant chief and later chief of the department.
Fritz enjoyed the outdoors, especially hunting and fishing with his sons and brothers. He was an avid sports fan and faithfully attended his children's and grandchildren's sporting events. His favorite teams were the Chicago Cubs and the Green Bay Packers. Fritz also looked forward to trips to the Kling Ranch in Belle Fouche, S.D., where he rode horses and helped with the annual round-up.
He will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 51 years Joan of Le Mars; 10 children and their spouses: Kris and Steve Melloy of St. Paul, Minn., Jeff and Laura Heissel of Arlington Heights, Ill., Becky and Bud Bates of Le Mars, Lori and Mike Rogan of Dubuque, Kim and Jay Becker, Kevin Heissel, Jackie and Joe Clarey, Pat and Cheri Heissel, Nikki and Joel Johnson, and B.J. and Danielle Heissel, all of Le Mars; 19 grandchildren: Jaclyn, Allison and Eric Heissel, Ryan and Elizabeth Bates, Alex and Kacie Rogan, Kelli and Matt Becker, Ashley and Carissa Heissel, Tyler and Zachary Clarey, Cole and Megan Heissel, Jacob, Madelyn and Jack Johnson, and Brooklyn Heissel; two sisters, Olivia Muir of St. Louis, Mo., and Mary Lihudis of Le Mars; a brother and his wife, Cyril and Jan Heissel of Storm Lake; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his parents; infant sons Timothy Gerard and Regan James J., infant daughters Molly Kathleen and Bridget Ellen; grandchildren Kaitelin Clarey, Joshua Johnson, and Jamie Lee Bates; sisters Luella Baack and Elizabeth Singer; a brother, William; and brothers-in-law Vincent Muir, Orville Baack and John Lihudis.
Mass of Christian Burial will take place at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at St. James Catholic Church in Le Mars. The Rev. James Tigges will celebrate Mass. Burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery in Le Mars. Honor Guard will be provided by the Le Mars Fire Department. Visitation will begin at 2 p.m. today (Friday) at the Mauer -- Johnson Funeral Home in Le Mars. A rosary service will take place at 4 p.m. and a Scriptural prayer service will follow at 7 p.m. There will also be one hour of visitation at the church prior to Mass.
Honorary pallbearers will be George Frerichs, Pat Kennedy, Wayne Schipper, Louie Luschen, John Nilles, Pete Stoos, Dick Schietzelt, Douglas Ulrickson and Dave Hill. Pallbearers will be Fritz's nine grandsons Matthew Becker, Tyler Clarey, Alex Rogan, Zachary Clarey, Cole Heissel, Jacob Johnson, Ryan Bates, Eric Heissel and Jack Johnson.