Robert E. Heidt, 82, a lifelong resident of Millcreek Township, passed away at his home on Tuesday, March 18, 2014.
Bob was born on April 23, 1931, in Erie, the son of the late William D. and Emma Rosenstiel Heidt. He grew up on the family farm on Cherry Street extension in Millcreek. He was a 1949 National Honor Society graduate of Millcreek High School, and in his senior year, was the starting right guard for the Millcreek Trojans, earning selection to the prestigious East-West All Star football game. Bob attended Penn State University
, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry, with a minor in Mathematics in 1953.
Bob returned to Erie in 1953 to work with his father and brother Richard, initially on the family farm, and then later in the family owned excavation business, William Heidt & Sons. He married his high school sweetheart Audrey C. Weber, in February 1955, when he was serving in the U.S. Army
at Fort Knox, Kentucky. At Fort Knox, he graduated at the top of his class from the Armor Communications School, Enlisted Class 4, and qualified as a marksman with the M-1 rifle. The newlyweds camped their way across the country in the summer of 1955 to Fort Lewis, Washington, where Bob was stationed from 1955-56.
After his army service, Bob again returned to Erie, where he and Audrey raised their seven children, living in a two bedroom apartment until Bob built, with the help of family and friends, a home on the grounds of the old family farm. Bob was a mentor to a generation of youths in the area, serving as a leader in Boy Scout Troop 182 in the 1970s and 1980s, where he was proud to witness all five of his sons achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. French Creek Council later awarded Bob the Silver Beaver Award for his "impact on the lives of youth through service given to the Council."
After the death of his father in 1986, Bob operated his own excavation business, Heidt Construction, until his retirement in 2007 at the age of 75. Over his 50 year business career, Bob performed excavation, road grading, and utilities work across the area, playing a significant role in the transformation of Millcreek Township from mostly rural farmland to the flourishing community it is today. He was an accomplished engineer, mechanic, carpenter, cabinet maker, electrician, plumber, and stonemason, a devoted member of St. George's Church in Millcreek, an amateur guitarist, an avid RVer, and above all, a loving father and grandfather.
Bob is survived by two daughters, Beth Praskwiecz (John) of Hurricane, W.Va
., and Catherine Savvas (Savvas) of Brecksville, Ohio; four sons, Steven (Pam) of Fairview, Texas, William (Sotie) of Arlington, Va., John (Nicole) of Dusseldorf, Germany, and Paul (Carrie) of Manalapan, N.J.; a daughter-in-law, Lenny Heidt, of Crystal Lake, Ill.; twelve grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Besides his parents, Bob was preceded in death, in 2002, by his wife of 47 years, Audrey Heidt; his sister, Irene Kupetz; two brothers, William and Richard Heidt; and his son, Kenneth Heidt.
Friends may call on Friday at the Francis V. Kloecker Funeral Home, Inc., 2502 Sassafras St., Erie, PA 16502, from 2-5 and 7-9, and are invited to a service there on Saturday at 11:15 a.m., followed by the Funeral Mass at St. George Church at 12 noon. Send condolences to www.kloeckerfuneralhome.com
Burial will be in Mary Queen of Peace Cemetery.
Published in the Erie Times-News on Mar. 20, 2014