William Heiser

Friday, October 16, 2009

William P. Heiser, 88, of Reading, PA, died peacefully in his sleep the morning of Wednesday, October 14, 2009 in ManorCare Health Services, Camp Hill, PA, where he was for three weeks.

He was the husband of Marie A. (Batdorf) Heiser, a resident of Country Meadows, Mechanicsburg, PA, whom he married on December 30, 1945. Together they made a dynamic team spanning 64 golden years. He was Mr. Outside and she was Mrs. Inside. She suppported him throughout his military career and many postings.

Born in Orwigsburg, PA, on April 4, 1921, he was the son of the late William G. and Martha M. (Faust) Heiser.

William was a founding member of "The Greatest Generation." He enlisted in the U.S. Army on December 8, 1941 and was selected for service in the Army Air Corps. An unassuming man who loved his country, one of his most cherished possessions was a flag that was flown over th Multi-National Forces Headquarters, Camp Victory, Iraq, and signed by General Petraeus. The flag will always be with him. Shortly after his 22nd birthday, he reported to 15th Air Force in Foggia, Italy. He flew 25 combat missions over Germany during World War II as a bombadier/navigator in the B-17 Flying Fortress. He was awarded the Air Medal upon his completion of his tour. William deployed with the 17th Bomb Wing to K9 (affectionately known as Dogpatch) South Korea, in 1953. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his actions in combat during the Korean War. During the Cold War, he deployed to Alaska numerous times for six month rotations to sit alert in the event Soviet aircraft penetrated U.S. airspace. His last position was as Chief of Aircraft Maintenance at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. William retired from the United States Air Force in Spring of 1962.

Mr. Heiser was well-known in the community for his fairness and patriotic pride, and he accepted a position as judge for the Mountain Home Municipal Court. He served until 1966 when he and his family relocated back to Pennsylvania. William purchased Lewis News Card Shop and Newspaper Distribution Agency in Schuylkill Haven, PA. Lewis News Agency was sold in December 1983 and he immediately started an Antique refinishing business. But he made time to travel the 48 continental United States with his beloved co-pilot wife in their motor home. William had a love of German Shepherds and was a master craftsman. He was a financial supporter of the Boy Scouts of America, Good Shepherd United Church of Christ in Tuckerton, of which he was a member, the Humane Society and the Pennsylvania State University. He was a lifetime supporter and member of the Masonic Lodge Chapter 24 of Mountain Home, Idaho.

Surviving in addition to his wife is one daughter: Susan S. (Heiser), wife of Roger M. Courchesne of New Cumberland, PA; one son: USAF Lieutenant Colonel W. Mark Heiser, currently stationed in Afghanistan; daughter-in-law: Lisa; and granddaughter: Lauren, both living in Atlanta, Georgia. He is also survived by his sister: Catherine (Heiser), wife of Clifford Hubbs, Macungie, PA; and one niece. He was predeceased by a brother: Kenneth Heiser.

Services will be on Tuesday at 12:00 noon from Leibensperger Funeral Homes, Inc., Hamburg, PA (off street parking in rear) with Rev. Dr. Robert A. Stewart officiating. Burial with military honors will be in St. Michael's Cemetery, Hamburg. A viewing will be held in the funeral home Tuesday 11:00 am to 12:00 noon. The family suggests memorial contributions may be sent to Good Shepherd U.C.C. Building Fund, 170 Tuckerton Road, Reading, PA 19605.