ROCKFORD – Keith A. Heitz, 74, of Rockford, passed away Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, at his earthly home, surrounded by family, and now is in his eternal home with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
He was born March 24, 1938, at home in Oneco Township in Stephenson County, the son of Merrill and Lela (Seidel) Heitz. He graduated from Orangeville High School in 1957. He served in the Army from 1963 to 1965, serving in the U.S. and in Germany. He married Vivian “El Louise” Witmer on Feb. 11, 1967, in Cook County. The two just celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary with a special service held in their home on Feb. 11, 2013. Keith worked at Chrysler in the Belvidere Assembly Plant for 35.5 years, retiring on June 30, 2001.
Growing up on a farm, Keith had a love for the land and the outdoors and understood what hard work was. He found it hard to just sit and do nothing. Keith enjoyed golfing and played in a work league for many years. He enjoyed caring for his yard, spending endless hours taking care of it – so much so, you would be hard-pressed to find a weed. He enjoyed going to antique auctions and had a knack for restoring antique furniture. He loved antique tractors, especially John Deere.
After retirement, Keith took up bicycling and joined Blackhawk Bicycle and Ski Club. At the height of his bicycling days, Keith rode 15,473 miles in one season. That same season, he made 100 century rides (100 miles each) – an achievement that few will ever achieve. He enjoyed riding on country roads across the stateline. Since joining the club in 2002, he logged 79,295 miles!
Keith had the gift of gab and would strike up a conversation with just about anybody about anything. He loved to talk. Keith enjoyed traveling throughout the U.S. and in Europe with his wife and daughter. Keith attended Maywood Evangelical Free Church for the past 35 years. He served as a trustee for many years and participated in many activities and events over the years. Keith was a faithful blood donor for the Rock River Valley Blood Center.
While he will be greatly missed by his family, we know he is safely and peacefully in the arms of his heavenly Father. He fought the good fight and has now finished the race, having heard “well done, my good and faithful servant.” Welcome home.
He is lovingly survived by his wife, El Louise; daughter, Lori Ann (Ross Peebles); stepdaughter, Karolyn (Darrell) Hepp; granddaughters, Amanda and Cassandra Hepp; son, Steve Heitz; brothers, Larry (Margie) Heitz and Eugene (Gloria) Heitz; and special brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Mel and Theresa Witmer.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at Maywood Evangelical Free Church, 3621 Samuelson Road, Rockford. Visitation also will be 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday and the funeral at 11 a.m. Saturday at the church, with the Rev. Gary Kniseley, pastor, officiating. Private burial will be at a later date at Chapel Hill Cemetery in Dixon. Fitzgerald Funeral Home & Crematory in Rockford is handling arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Maywood Evangelical Free Church.
Visit www.fitzgeraldfh.com to send condolences.