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Delton Heckelman, Sr.

June 29, 1924 - September 28, 2016
Portage, MI

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Visitations


Friday, September 30, 2016
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM EDT
Vicksburg United Methodist Church
217 S. Main Street
Vicksburg, MI 49097

Services


Friday, September 30, 2016
11:00 AM to 12:00 PM EDT
Vicksburg United Methodist Church
217 S. Main Street
Vicksburg, MI 49097

Contributions


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Vicksburg United Methodist Church
217 S. Main Street
Vicksburg, MI 49097

Flowers


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Heirloom Rose
407 S. Grand St.
Schoolcraft, MI 49087
(269) 679-3010
Driving Directions
Web Site

Ambati
1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


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Print

With a life that spanned times of war and times of peace, times of plenty and times of want, Delton Heckelman, Sr. lived a life of purpose while holding his loved ones near. His path was anchored in faith, and he was an outgoing conversationalist who drew others near with ease. Delton was a hardworking man of honor and courage who loved using his gifts and talents to bless others. A devoted family man, he was thrilled beyond measure to witness his family tree blossom to include children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and even great-great-grandchildren later in life. Although he will be deeply missed, Delton will never be forgotten.

It was great to be an American during the 1920s. Innovation was taking us places we had never been with radios, washing machines, and refrigerators becoming part of our homes. Jazz music was hot, and Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb made baseball America’s favorite pastime. Amidst this eventful time was the year 1924 when Wayne and Viola (Maul) Heckelman were eagerly awaiting the birth of their new baby as the warmth of June spread over the city of Mendon, Michigan, in 1924. The big day finally arrived when the baby boy they named Delton W. drew his first breath on June 29th. The oldest of three children in his family, Delton was raised in the family home in Three Rivers alongside his siblings, Nola and Max. His father worked as a machinist while his mother was a busy homemaker. As a teen Delton worked on a local farm, and he attended school through Three Rivers schools.

As a young man Delton honorably served in the Army Air Corp (now the Air Force) from 1942 through 1946. While in the service he worked the radar in what would become the airport that housed the plane that dropped the atomic bomb, bringing WWWII to an end. Like pages torn from a live history book, Delton saw the plane covered at the base and was there when that fateful day in August of 1945 came to be.

New and exciting changes were in store for Delton when he met the young woman who would forever hold the key to his heart. Her name was Geraldine “Jerry,” and they met through a friendship with her brother, Bud in 1946. She baked him a cherry pie, and that was all it took since he had known her slightly prior to that day, but it was the pie that made him stand up and take notice! With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together Delton and Jerry were married on May 4, 1946. Together they welcomed two children, Delton and Nancy, into their hearts and home. To support his family, Delton worked as a repairman at Midwest Electric Motor for over 20 years. Later in life he was overjoyed to become a grandfather, and he was an important part of his grandchildren’s lives. Delton loved sharing his love for camping with his grandchildren, and at one time he took them all out camping with him. They started in a tent, but they later made it to a tent camper and truck camper, a travel trailer, and then a fifth wheel and a motorhome. Delton’s favorite camping was done the Family Camp Group from Vicksburg United Methodist at a place called Lake Michigan Camp, and they went there every Father’s Day weekend. Delton also loved camping in Mesick with his family where he also liked mushroom hunting.

Throughout his life Delton was a man of many interests. In addition to camping, he enjoyed hunting, fishing, boating, and snowmobiling. Around home Delton could often be found out working in his shop where he often made wooden bowls, tables, lamps, and all kinds of woodworking projects. He wasn’t much of a cook as he once even caught the kitchen on fire! It didn’t really do much damage, but it was enough to really make some nice smoke. Delton was a longtime member of Vicksburg United Methodist Church, and for years he and Jerry liked to go out square dancing. Delton was also a fan of Lawrence Welk.

An amazing man who lived an extraordinary life, Delton Heckelman, Sr. was a blessing to so many. He was a true people person who was genuinely concerned with others, and he was willing to help people in ways both great and small. Delton was never one to let life get the best of him, and he faced whatever came his way with both strength and courage that were to be admired. Life will never be the same without him here, but he leaves behind a timeless legacy that his loved ones will proudly carry on in his footsteps.

Delton W. Heckelman,Sr., of Portage, passed away on Wednesday, September 28, 2016. Delton’s family includes his two children: Delton (Karen) Heckelman, Jr., of Portage and Nancy (Gary) Smith, of Vicksburg; six grandchildren: Del (Mary) Heckelman, III, of Kalamazoo; Bobbi (Charlie) Hall, of Greenville; Tammie (Adam) Fowler, of Schoolcraft; Elizabeth Lloyd, of Portage; Traci Jancasz, of IL; Aurelius Jancasz, of CA; and 12 great-grandchildren; four great-great-grandchildren; and two siblings: Nola Bowlby, of IN; Max (Mable) Heckelman, of Kalamazoo. The family will receive friends on Friday from 10-11 a.m. at Vicksburg United Methodist Church. A funeral service will be held on Friday at 11 a.m. at the church. Burial in Portage South Cemetery. Please visit Del’s webpage at www.lifestorynet.com where you can read sign the guestbook and share a memory and/or photo. Those who wish may make contributions to Vicksburg United Methodist Church.

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