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Jesse Morgan Heinzerling


1973 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Jesse Morgan Heinzerling Obituary
Jesse Morgan Heinzerling

AGE: 43 •

Jesse Morgan Heinzerling, born with severe cerebral palsy but nevertheless a world traveller beloved for his mischievous smile and sense of humor, died Tuesday, April 25, at CentraState Hospital in Freehold, N.J. He was 43.

Born in Kettering Ohio on Nov. 30, 1973, he first lived with his parents in Lagos, Nigeria, where his father worked as a correspondent for The Associated Press.

The family later moved to South Africa and then Germany before returning to the United States in 1983 where Jesse became a resident at the Bancroft School in Haddonfield, N.J. and later at Bancroft's rural campus at Mullica Hill, N.J. where he worked in a greenhouse.

Although unable to speak his entire life, he was blessed with an animated personality, communicating with easily understood hand gestures, facial expressions and head movements. He loved loud rock and roll and would always channel surf the car radio looking for a good tune.

He had a contagious sense of humor. He was amused his entire life, for example, by the word "dummkopf," which he learned in Germany and associated with human error. He would chortle uproariously whenever he heard it or the similar sounding "dump truck."

His caregivers and family members could always elicit a smile acting as "dummkopfs," pretending to slip on the floor or spill something or showering him with Silly String, and he quickly established a fan club wherever he went, offering grins, fist bumps and hugs to all visitors.

Despite physical handicaps, in younger days he dressed and fed himself, was able to sink a basketball, a sport he followed avidly on television, and especially loved to wander about with the building and grounds staff on their rounds at Mullica Hill.

He became bedridden following complications from surgery in 2002 and was a longtime patient at Allaire Rehab & Nursing, formerly J.L. Montgomery Care Center, in Freehold, N.J.

He is survived by his mother, Sherry Heinzerling, of Kettering, Ohio; father, Larry Heinzerling, of New York City; brother, Ben Heinzerling; sister, Kristen Heinzerling; stepmother, Ann Cooper; step-brothers Artyom Keller and Andreas Klohnen; step-sister Eva Klohnen; aunt, Sara Jorgensen, and five nieces and a nephew.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Jesse's memory to Bancroft, March of Dimes or United Cerebral Palsy.
Published in Asbury Park Press on Apr. 30, 2017
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