Jeffrey Lynn Heilman, 65, went to be with Jesus on January 6, 2022. He was born August 8, 1956, in Wichita, the son of Charles E. and Delores Ann (Pickerill) Heilman.
Jeff graduated from Wichita North High School in 1974 and carried on his education and baseball career at Cloud County Community College. More importantly, the college in Concordia, Kansas is where Jeff met Marilyn Kay Bearnes, the woman he fell in love with and walked in life with for the next several decades. Jeff and Kay were married on Oct. 29, 1977, and settled in Wichita where Jeff worked for KG&E, later Westar Energy, a career that lasted 30-plus years. In September 1979, Jeff and Kay became parents with the birth of a daughter, Rachel. Two more children followed: Lacey in October 1983 and Matt in March 1986. Jeff loved his family fiercely and shined especially bright in his role as a grandfather. He delighted in time with his grandchildren and often bragged about all nine of them. He tried to be at every game, concert, recital, or play that he could, and in the rare instances he couldn’t be there, he made sure to remind the kid or grandkid participating how proud he was of them.
Jeff also valued his church family, growing in his faith and forming cherished friendships at Great Plains Church in Wichita. He developed a passion for ministering to others and valued time in worship. Everywhere he went, Jeff loved people unconditionally and never met a stranger. He was the life of the party and was a social chameleon, fitting in and uplifting others.
There are numerous stories about Jeff surrounding his humor, especially turning moments of adversity into stories fit for a TV sitcom. Jeff was happiest when he put a smile on someone’s face, whether that be a family member, friend, acquaintance, or stranger. Jeff shared his love of unique auction items, decorative glass, hunting, sports, music, laughter, and life with a multitude of people whose lives were enriched by knowing him.
Jeff was preceded in death by his father, Charles E. Heilman and a granddaughter, Mia Heilman. He is survived by his wife, Kay; children Rachel (David) Koehn; Lacey (Brian) Stratton; and Matt (Amy) Heilman, all of Valley Center; mother, Delores “Dee” Heilman, and brother, Doug Heilman, of Wichita; sister, Linda Spears, of Haysville; nine grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.
A service of remembrance will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 11 at Riverlawn Christian Church, 4243 N Meridian Ave, Wichita, KS 67204. Interment will follow at Crown Point Cemetery, near Culver, Kansas.
Those who wish to further honor Jeff’s memory can make donations to Great Plains Church, 2901 W. Taft, Wichita, KS, 67213.