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1932 - 2019
October 9, 1932 -
November 29, 2019

Roman Frank Heitzman of Mount Vernon, WA, went to Heaven on Friday, November 29, 2019, surrounded by his wife and children.

Roman was born on October 9, 1932, in Holdingford, MN, where his parents worked their family farm. He was the youngest of seven children. He was an altar boy in the Roman Catholic Church and as a young man considered becoming a priest.

He was the first of his family to graduate high school when he graduated from Holdingford High School in 1946. Roman then moved to Gilbert in Northern Minnesota to join his brother, Ralph, working in the taconite mines of the Mesabi Iron Range. He started working for Erie Mining Company in 1952.

Roman joined the U.S. Army and was stationed in France from 1955-1957. After being honorably discharged, Roman returned to Gilbert and resumed his job at Erie Mining Company.

On July 28, 1962, Roman married Josephine Drinkwine, an elementary school teacher who he referred to throughout his life as his beloved "Little Bee." The Big Bee and his Little Bee had four children: Jodie (Nels Myklebust), Keith (Tammy Meyer), Jeanne (Russ Maxwell) and Mark (Tammy Brula).

The young family moved to the Village of McKinley in 1966 where they lived until 1985. Roman was a proud member of the McKinley Fire Department. He participated in bowling, curling and softball leagues. He utilized the G.I. Bill to attend Mesabi Community College.

He was a dedicated member of his church community at St John's Parish in Biwabik. Roman took great pride in his award winning flower and vegetable gardens, later in life earning the certification of Master Gardener. Roman was never afraid of having kids around the house. He and Jo hosted exchange students and took in and cared for many children and teens in need of a home. Their home was often the center of activity for church youth groups and 4-H meetings.

Roman retired from LTV Mining in 1985 (33 1/3 years) and he and Jo moved to Burlington, Washington. Roman continued turning his yards into works of art, and did lawn care for many people in the Skagit Valley. He was a courtesy van driver for I-5 Auto World and immensely enjoyed meeting and conversing with all his customers. Roman remained active in his new Parish, and joined the Knights of Columbus at St Charles Catholic Church in 1987. Roman was named K.C. Man of the Month as well as Man of the Year numerous times.

Roman retired from work in 2004 and spent his retirement years loving his family and friends, writing thousands of letters and sending birthday cards to anyone whose name made it onto his annual birthday calendar. He served his community as a Mount Vernon Police Volunteer in the Vacation Home Check Program.

He also found joy and purpose in his hobby of making fire-starters that he gave away as gifts that we cherish to this day. He loved watching all sports, but his special affection was to be a disgruntled, lifelong fan of the Minnesota Vikings and the Minnesota Twins.

Of all the great things in Roman's life, he took the most pride in his grandchildren: Angela Mannila (Jodie) Maechen, Joshua and Kyli Heitzman (Keith), Myriah, Cheyanna and Grace Maxwell (Jeanne), and Monty and Jacob Heitzman (Mark), and his extended familyMegan Uhan and Ryan Myklebust. He is great-grandfather to Elizabeth, Mia and Levi Uhan, and Andrew, Sophia, Luke and Caleb Myklebust.

Roman was a beloved uncle to numerous nieces and nephews.

Roman was preceded in death by parents George Louis and Anna (Greener) Heitzman, brothers: Fred, Ervin and Ralph Heitzman, and sisters: Regina Bieniek, Irene Symanietz and Emma Langner.

The Heitzman family sends a very special thank you to the staff at Harborview Medical Center for the love and care they provided.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred.

Recitation of the Holy Rosary will be at St. Charles Catholic Church in Burlington, WA at 6:30 P.M. on Wednesday, Dec 4, 2019.

Roman will be remembered with two celebrations of life:

A Memorial Mass will be held at St Charles Catholic Church in Burlington, WA at 10:30 A.M. on Thursday, Dec 5, 2019. Reception to follow.

A second memorial will be held in Minnesota at a location and date yet to be determined.
Published in Skagit Valley Herald on Dec. 3, 2019
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