William J. Heard
FUNERAL HOME
Gaffney Parsons Funeral Home
314 S. First Street
Bangor, PA

William J. "Pete" Heard, 75, passed away after a battle with cancer on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021, at ProMedica Nursing and Rehabilitation (Old Orchard), Easton, Pa.

Pete was born July 26, 1946, in Trenton, N.J., to the late William J. "John" Heard, of Bangor, and the late Jeanette (Piersee) Heard, formerly of Wells, Kan.

But he grew up in Bangor, where he excelled in athletics (his lifelong passion), graduating from Bangor High in 1964. Upon his graduation, he moved onto Rider College (now Rider University) in Lawrenceville, N.J. on an athletic scholarship for basketball and baseball. He studied History and World Affairs, getting his B.A. degree in 1968. While at Rider, he was also a member of the Theta Chi Fraternity. He went on to earn a Master's degree in Secondary Education from East Stroudsburg University.

Pete returned to Bangor where he taught Social Studies at his alma mater. In addition, he began his long coaching career as assistant men's basketball coach to longtime Bangor coach, Bill Pensyl (who fondly referred to Pete as "Hometown"). Pete moved away from his Bangor roots in 1973 to Schuylkill Haven, Pa., where he taught American History and World Cultures at Schuylkill Haven High School. He was hired as the head coach of the boys' basketball team for the 1973-74 season. Pete coached the team until 1978. He came back to coaching for the 1982-83 season. Under his guidance, Schuylkill Haven won back-to-back District 11 Class A championships in 1984 and 1985. During the early-to-mid-'80s, his teams played in many state playoff games as well. He stopped coaching at Haven after the 1986 season. But, he returned to coaching as Tri-Valley High School (Hegins, Pa.) boys' basketball head coach from 1996-2001. Pete was also a faculty member at Penn State University (Schuylkill campus) for 20+ years, where he taught a History class called International Understanding - or as he called it, International "Confusion." While at Penn State, he was also an assistant men's basketball coach. In addition to teaching at Penn State Schuylkill, Pete was involved with putting together summer basketball and baseball camps and teaching young ones the fundamental skills of the sport.

Amid teaching in high school and college, plus coaching basketball, Pete attended Myerstown Theological Seminary, Myerstown, Pa., to become a pastor. He was the pastor of Williamstown Evangelical Church, Williamstown, Pa., in the '80s before becoming the pastor of Vera Cruz Evangelical Church, Emmaus, Pa., until the early '90s.

After retiring from Schuylkill Haven High School in 2003 and retiring from Penn State in the early 2000s, Pete continued to help and be an assistant men's basketball coach at various schools, as well as helping to coach a local semi-professional men's basketball team. He also continued to teach courses at Northampton County Community College. He was also occasionally asked to speak about World Affairs at various teacher conferences and community colleges throughout Northampton County and the Lehigh Valley. Pete was inducted into Schuylkill County Sports Hall of Fame for being an accomplished Schuylkill League and Schuylkill County men's basketball coach. He was also inducted into the Lehigh Valley Sports Hall of Fame for being a great basketball player in addition to his coaching accomplishments (Pete was also a board member for Lehigh Valley Sports Hall of Fame). He was inducted into Bangor High Sports Hall of Fame as well.

Pete is survived by his daughter, Heather, of Yardley, Pa.; his former wife, Marthea Heard, Schuylkill Haven, Pa., (formerly of Pennington, N.J.); sister, Mary Beth Gadakar, Princeton, N.J.; brothers, Jeffrey Heard, (wife Joann) Fountain Hill, Pa., and Joel Heard, Allentown, Pa. Pete is survived by two nephews, Clay and Kyle Gadakar, Seattle, Wash.; three great-nieces and two great-nephews. Pete is also survived by numerous cousins since his Dad, William J. "John" Heard, was the oldest of 10 children.

Pete was preceded in death by his younger sister, Martha Van Etten, (husband Scott) Mullica Hill, N.J.

Pete lived a full, busy life and loved being a teacher as well as a coach. He helped guide and mold countless people. He was well-loved and will be greatly missed.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 3, at East Bangor Community Church, 136 W. Central Ave, East Bangor, with the Rev. David Goss officiating. Family and friends are invited to a visitation from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2, at Gaffney Parsons Funeral Home & Cremation Services Inc., 314 S. First St., Bangor, and from 10 to 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 3, at the church. Burial will be held in St. John's Cemetery, Bangor. Online condolences may be offered at gaffneyparsons.com. A memorial service will also be held at Schuylkill Haven since Pete had roots in Schuylkill County as well. The date and times will be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate a monetary donation to the www.v.org in Pete's name. This organization is the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer research - named in honor of the late great North Carolina State men's basketball coach, Jim Valvano.


Published by Republican & Herald from Nov. 27 to Nov. 28, 2021.
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Gaffney Parsons Funeral Home
314 S. First Street, Bangor, PA
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East Bangor Community Church
136 W. Central Ave,, East Bangor, PA
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East Bangor Community Church
136 W. Central Ave, East Bangor,, PA
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17 Entries
Deepest condolences to the family. A class act man that was a friend to all. If you knew Pete you had a nickname. He will be sorely missed.
Nick Pinto
December 2, 2021
John was a classmate and dear friend in later years. He was a loving, warm and gentle soul. Sincerest condolences to his family. He will be sorely missed.
Cecelia DelBacco Merchant
November 30, 2021
Condolences to Pete´s family, Pete was a classmate and good friend. Sorry to hear of his passing.
Kerry & Linda Hendershot
School
November 29, 2021
Pete never forgot a name or face . Every time he got back home he stop and see me. He always had kind words to say about times. He will be remembered with fondness memories. My prayers for his family.
Robert Blake
November 29, 2021
So long to our Dear Friend. We will miss your smile, kindness and your sense of humor. We really enjoyed our conversations during the various meeting we all attended. I hope you get to shoot hoops in Heaven.
Perry and Belinda Morris
Friend
November 28, 2021
Deepest condolences to the Heard family, Pete Heard left his mark on many people in both the Slate Belt and Schuylkill County including myself. Whether on the court or at the hardware store Pete would be sure to acknowledge your presence. Blessed to have him as my first coach, Godspeed Mr Heard.
H Krohn
School
November 28, 2021
Deepest condolences to the family. Pete was a classmate as well as a friend.
Jim (Monk) & Kay Parsons
Classmate
November 28, 2021
To the Heard family. I was sorry to read of Pete's death. I met Pete as a freshman at Rider and played on the freshman basketball team with him. We were also fraternity brothers in Theta Chi. I enjoyed the time we spent on the court and discussing the hometown teams. I lost touch with Pete after leaving school after my sophomore year but thought of him often over the years. My condolences to the family. Jim Matchette EAHS '64
Jim Matchette,
School
November 28, 2021
My deepest condolences to the Heard family. Coach made a difference in so many young peoples lives. He blazed a path few men could walk down. Amazingly, he remembered every athletes name he ever coached. Pennsylvania sports has lost a true legend. His passion for sports and his athletes will be handed down for generations from all of us that had the honor. There can be no greater legacy. Rest In Peace, coach, and thank you.
The Lefty
November 28, 2021
Pete was most definitely a beloved local legend. Knew him well. A friendly and kindly man to everyone he touched.
Jeff share
November 28, 2021
With deepest sympathy to family & friends in the passing of Pete. May he Rest In Peace. God bless.
Donna & Toby Koehler
School
November 28, 2021
Prayers to your family during this difficult time. Mr Heard touched so many people during his lifetime. He will be missed.
Brook Koch-Guers
November 28, 2021
To Jeff and all the Heard family and friends, May God give you comfort in your time of loss.
Ken Rosato
November 28, 2021
Prayers to the family for their loss. Had Pete for social studies at Haven.
Michele Haas
Student
November 28, 2021
I am forever indented to Pete. When I was a small boy he not only taught me fundamentals of basketball but more importantly gave me self confidence that enabled me to know throughout my life that with hard work I could achieve any dream I wanted. He was a huge difference in my life. He will be greatly missed by many.
joseph n kessler
November 28, 2021
I always loved talking with Pete about the days when I played baseball at Bangor High School. He was the Head JV coach and also the assistant varsity coach. I always appreciated the nice things he had to say about me. RIP Pete I will always remember you fondly.
Mickey Snyder
Friend
November 27, 2021
Our family from Schuylkill Haven have good memories of time spent with Pete .
Gene P Seidel
November 27, 2021
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