Burnell A. Heinecke
1927 - 2018
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Burnell A. Heinecke 1927 - 2018
Springfield, IL—Burnell Albert Heinecke, 91, died at 4:35 am, Wednesday, December 5, 2018 at Lewis Memorial Christian Village. He was born June 11, 1927 in Mascoutah, the son of Herman and Olivia (Emge) Heinecke.
He was raised in Freeburg, and immediately upon graduation from Freeburg High School enlisted in the U.S. Navy where he served aboard aircraft carriers Kula Gulf (CVE 108) Ticonderoga (CV14).
A 1950 honors graduate of McKendree College at Lebanon, he worked for two years at the Belleville Daily Advocate before joining the staff of the Chicago Sun-Times. In 1956, he was selected to become a Nieman Fellow in Journalism at Harvard University.
During most of his 23 years with the Sun-Times, he was involved with state and legislative issues, and during his 10 years as Bureau Chief in the State Capitol also served as president of the Illinois Legislative Correspondents Association. There, he helped create its ILCA Gridiron Dinners. He has an ILCA scholarship in his name at the University of Illinois at Springfield. While it was still Sangamon State University, he had taught an introduction to journalism class there 1976 to 1978. He also serviced as president of the Central Illinois chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
He covered the administrations of William Stratton, Otto Kerner, Sam Shapiro, Richard Ogilvie, Dan Walker and Jim Thompson. After resigning from the Sun-Times in 1975, he created Heinecke News Service serving 39 Illinois publications (mostly weeklies) and publications in Chicago, Washington and New York City. Faced with a 1978 recession, he joined the campaign staff of Jerry Cosentino, and after his election as state treasurer became an administrative assistant, a position he also held under State Treasurer James Donnewald. One of his proudest achievements as Legislative Liaison was helping draft and secure enactment of the Illinois Farm Development Authority. Later, he worked for two years as assistant to the Director of Labor under the Thompson administration.
As a permanent resident of Springfield after 1965, Burnell had a chance to exercise his performance interests in the local theatres. Although he once had the lead role of Herbie in Muni's Gypsy, his favorite roles were as a pirate in two productions of Peter Pan and as the grandfather in Ragtime. Besides acting with the Springfield Muni Opera and Springfield Theatre Guild, he also performed roles in short plays by Midwest Playwrights and had movie roles in NBC's The Awakening Land and more recently had a spotlighted segment in Legally Blonde 2.
He served on the Board of Managers of both the Muni and Theatre Guild and had key roles in several Muni building projects while also serving as Producer or Production Coordinator for shows from 1968 through 2007. He also served 1978-1980 on one of the first Illinois Humanities Councils that helped pave the way for creation of Illinois Public Radio networks after a failed attempt to create a statewide public television network. That led to his being asked onto the Western Illinois University Foundation Board. After 25 years of service there, he was given lifetime status and continued work on its Scholarship Committee screening honors applicants.
Earlier, he had served two terms as president of the McKendree College Alumni Association and was honored by the college with its lifetime Outstanding Graduate in Journalism Award.
Following retirement from state employment, Burnell pursued his love of new cars—and travel—with a 15 year career as an Automotive Relocation Specialist (driver) for Springfield auto dealers and rental agencies (primarily Enterprise).
Burnell was a lifetime member of St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Freeburg and a member since 1946 of Locklar-Smith Post 550 of the American Legion in Freeburg.
Survivors include one nephew, Timothy (Barb Wunderlich) Mudd of Freeburg; one niece, Lyn Mudd of Swansea; great nieces and nephews, Joseph (Sara) Mudd, Scott Mudd, Kimberly (Ed) Scheibel, Bethany (Steve) Raetz, Morgan (Justin) Belding, Olivia (Steve) Tomei, Carrie (Justin) Brown and Matt (Shelley) Wunderlich, several great nieces and nephews; as well as many friends, including a dear friend, Shirley Clark of Springfield.
He was preceded in death by his parents, a sister, Wilmette (Bertram) Mudd, two nephews, Dennis and David Mudd, two close cousins, Harold Heinecke and Aletha (Waeltz) Weiss and a good friend Virginia Davlin O'Brien.
Visitation: 2 – 5 pm, Saturday, December 8, 2018 at Staab Funeral Home – Springfield.
A second visitation will be held from 4 – 8 pm, Sunday, December 9, 2018 at Renner Funeral Home in Freeburg.
Funeral service at 11:00 am, Monday, December 10, 2018 at St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Freeburg. Burial will follow at Oak Ridge Cemetery in New Athens, IL.
Memorial contributions may be made to McKendree College, Lebanon, IL, Springfield Muni Opera or St. Paul's Church in Freeburg, IL.
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Published in The State Journal-Register from Dec. 6 to Dec. 8, 2018.
02:00 - 05:00 PM
04:00 - 08:00 PM
Renner Funeral Home
Funeral service
11:00 AM
St. Paul's United Church of Christ
Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by Staab Funeral Home - Springfield
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12 entries
January 7, 2019
A labor of love as a Muni volunteer
Mary McDonald
December 27, 2018
No one ever loved life more
Ted Knutson
December 11, 2018
My sincere condolences to your family for the loss of your love one. May the God of comfort be with you during this sad occasion and may his loving words at John 6:40 console your heart.
December 10, 2018
I worked at the YMCA downtown and Mr Heinecke was a very active member. Came in like clockwork. My condolences to his family.
Jamie W.
December 10, 2018
My deepest sympathy to your family . May you keep in mind the hope of life everlasting which can help sustain you through this difficult time . John 17:3
Earnie Ray
December 10, 2018
Marilyn & I offer our prayers for strength and comfort to family during these sad times. I had the great honor of knowing Burnell in the State House press room and when he worked in the treasurer's office. A great guy, mentor and living history of the state of Illinois. We live in a better place because of him. R.I.P. my friend.
Steve & Marilyn Brown
December 8, 2018
When Burnell was able to attend services at First Congregational UCC. He was a delight to be with. Many of us have known him and been associated with him for a long time. He will be greatly missed. We share our sorrow with and offer our heartfelt condolences to his family.
Rev. Dan Dexter
December 8, 2018
Rev. Dan Dexter
December 8, 2018
Heartfelt sympathy, caring thoughts, prayers. Burnell was a true inspiration in many wonderful ways - professional, talented, personality plus, kind, always sharing and caring. His Turkey Tettrazzini at Muni end-of-the-show gatherings will always be a treasured treat!!! Wishing the family and friends: a song in your hearts; sunshine after the clouds; a rainbow after the rain; peace; cherished memories.
Mary von Liski
December 8, 2018
My deepest sympathy to the Heineken family for the lost of your loved one and the pain you're experiencing now. May the peace of God guard your hearts. Philippian 4: 6,7
E Davis
December 8, 2018
Dear Heinecke family,

Please accept my sympathies on the passing of Burnell. He and I often crossed paths in the Capitol Building when he was the legislative director for the State Treasurer.

Burnell was a whirlwind of energy. Whether it was in journalism or state government, he was always active.

But it was in theater that he found his true love. Whether on or off stage, whether acting or behind the scenes in an administrative position, he enjoyed "all that jazz".

I salute Burnell for his service in the U.S. Navy. May God bless Burnell and his family now and forever. Rest In Peace Burnell.

John Headrick
Springfield, IL
John Headrick
December 8, 2018
The family of Mr. Burnell Heinecke

I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Burnell when I worked on the Illinois State Senate Democrat Staff from 1981-2017 .I found him to be quite a professional and a gentleman to the end.

May he rest in peace and you have memories to ease the loss. He will be missed
Nia Odeoti-Hassan
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