Gainesville - Mr. Charles Harold (Killian) Heidelberger, 89, of Gainesville, FL and Pomfret, CT, died peacefully August 6, 2014 in Gainesville, FL.
Born and raised in New York City, Mr. Heidelberger had been in declining health for several years.
Mr. Heidelberger, known lovingly as "Coach," had three loves in his life: his family, his country, and the United States Marine Corps. He joined the USMC after Pearl Harbor was attacked in December 1941. Because he was only 16 at the time, the Marines would not take him until he turned 17 in June of 1942. Coach served bravely and fought in the Pacific in the "island hopping" campaign in the Mariana, Gilbert, and Solomon Islands, including at Saipan, Tinian, and Tarawa. He exemplified the Marine Corps' values of 'Honor, Courage, and Commitment,' and by his example, he instilled these values in his children and grandchildren.
After the war was over, Mr. Heidelberger returned to New York City, met the love of his life, and chose to attend the University of Mississippi because they had the best married student housing. That New York City boy and his bride had the experience of a lifetime in the South.
He majored in Health, Physical Education, and Rec-reation, and served as the Recreation Director in Fairport, New York before beginning his teaching career at a vocational high school in Connecticut. His professional legacy is the impact he made in the lives of many young people as a PE teacher, Athletic Director, and Coach. The life lessons he taught those kids remained with many of them throughout their lives. For years, any time one of his former students would see him, they would greet him enthusiastically, tell him how much he meant to them, and introduce him to their children and grandchildren.
Mr. Heidelberger was a devoted father and husband. He and Geraldine shared a life-time of love, celebrating their 66th wedding anniversary in April. They raised four children who couldn't have asked for a more loving or giving father, and who will always cherish his memory: Jody (Tami), Missy (Jay), Lori (Sandra), and Chris (Diane). He loved his in-law children as if they were his own.
In addition, Mr. Heidelberger leaves eleven grandchildren whom he adored: Jason, Michael, Lauren, Austin, Kier-sten, Victoria, Christian, Katherine, Owen, Michael and Shannon, and five great grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, Kansas 66675.
The family would like to thank Dr. Julie Zhu, the staff at the Woodlands Care Center, the 6th Floor staff of North Florida Hospital, and Haven Hospice for so professionally and lovingly caring for this beloved man.
Memorial services will be held at a later date at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Gainesville, FL and in Christ Episcopal Church in Pomfret, CT. Please visit his memorial page at

(352) 376-7556

Funeral Home

Williams-Thomas Funeral Home Downtown
404 North Main Street Gainesville, FL 32601
(352) 376-7556

Published in Gainesville Sun from Aug. 8 to Aug. 10, 2014