James A. Heller passed away peacefully, Sunday morning, July 13th, at Wayne Woodlands Manor in Waymart.|
Son of the late Blanche Pethick and Norman Heller, Dad was born March 26, 1922 in Honesdale, Pa.
A member of the Honesdale class of 1940, he was a standout right handed pitcher who never lost a game, or even had an earned run scored against him during his entire high school career.
He had his first tryout at the age of 17 in front of the legendary Connie Mack in Philadelphia.
After graduation he went on to pursue a career in pro ball, which was untimely interrupted by our entry into World War II.
He served in Europe with the 99th Combat Engineer Infantry Division and fought in the Battle of the Bulge, Siegfried Line, and the Rohr Pocket, among others.
He was awarded the Bronze Star for valor in combat, the Purple Heart, and Good Conduct Medal.
During these rough times, his overwhelming desire: "was to go home and play baseball."
He returned home and to the Minor Leagues after the war, where, while pitching for the Dartmouth Arrows, Nova Scotia, he met and married the love of his life, Helen Russell, of Halifax, Nova Scotia,
After marriage and a short stint in the Southwest leagues, he came home to Honesdale to raise two sons, Randy and Bo.
He was a graduate of Trinidad Junior College of Colorado and was self-employed as a custom gunsmith. He was also a longtime employee of Katz Underwear Co.
A born hunter, he hunted, trapped, and fished his whole life, every chance he could. He was a former elder and member of the Bethany Presbyterian Church.
He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Helen, son Randy and wife Judy Heller of Honesdale; son James R. Heller of Springfield, Pa., and grandchildren Jessica, James W., and Sean also of Springfield.
He was preceded in death by his mother Blanche, father Norman, and brothers George, and Gary Heller.
His last wishes included cremation and a private family service.
He was a former elder and member of the Bethany Presbyterian Church.
To say that we will miss him is an understatement, and we will do our best to "Bear Down."
Heaven has just got a great right hander. God Bless.
Final arrangements attended by the Arthur A. Bryant Funeral Home, 1228 North Main Street, Honesdale, PA.
Published in Wayne Independent on July 22, 2014