Don Heick

Thursday, November 18, 2021
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Don Heick, age 80 of Glendive passed away on Nov. 11, 2021 (Veteran’s Day) after fighting a valiant battle with COVID-19. He passed away at GMC Hospital surrounded by family. Don has been cremated. A memorial service will be held at a later date in 2022.

Donald Duane Heick was born on Oct. 11, 1941 to John Mike and Stella (Kromarek) Heick in Bowman, N.D. at home in his Grandma Heick’s rocking chair. When he was in the 4th grade his family moved to Buffalo, S.D. for 6 months and then moved to Lead, S.D. and lived there for 3 years. The family then moved to Dillon where he stayed until he was 17 years old. He quit school at the age of 13 and went to work on a ranch in Ennis for 6 months, went back to Dillon and worked for a couple of ranchers there. He went to work for the Briggs Brothers outside of Dell and after a short 3 month stay in Colombus he then joined the Navy in Billings on Friday, Feb. 13, 1959. Don received his GED in the Navy. He went to San Diego for 9 weeks for Boot Camp. He was then stationed in Hawaii for 3 ½ years from May ’59 until Sept. of ’62. Then he was discharged and went back to Bowman and worked for H&H Services. After working there for only 87 days he made the decision to go to Rapid City and re-enlisted in the Navy. He went to New York to the Brooklyn Navy Shipyard and was assigned to the USS Yamacraw WARC 333 as a cable layer for 2 years. During this time, broke his leg and spent 2 ½ months in Albany Naval Hospital. After 3 months of limited duty, he was assigned to the USS Belknap DLG26 – served 3 years on there. Homeport was Norfolk, VA.

Don married Patricia Meaney in Brooklyn in April of 1964. They lived in Flatbush and moved to Norfolk, Va. in 1965. Don & Pat adopted John Duane in May of 1968 and then Julie Diane in April of 1970.

In 1967 Don became an instructor in the Naval Air Conditioning & Refrigeration School for 3 years. Then he was assigned to the USS Lawrence DDG4 and went to Vietnam in 1970. He served in Vietnam for 7 months. He was then transferred to the USS Portland LPD15 for 3 years and then went to a MOTO2. After 3 years there, he retired as a Chief Petty Officer on Dec. 30, 1977 at the age 36.

Don and his family moved from Virginia Beach to Ekalaka until 1978 and then moved to Glendive. Don went to work for Browns Electric and built a home on Bloomfield highway. He and Pat divorced in 1987. Don started his own business called Don’s Electric, which became a secondary job when he went to work for the BNSF Railroad in the signal department on Sept. 4, 1990.

Don married Rosie Baisch Ley in April of 1989. Rosie passed away on July 7, 2001.

Don met Diane Henry on April 24, 2002. Don retired from the railroad in Oct. of 2003. Don enjoyed his retirement years working on his building projects, cars, etc., and sharing many stories with family and friends. He rarely missed a day having coffee with his many friends.

Don was preceded in death by his father & mother (John & Stella Heick). Two brothers Jerry & Carrol Heick & his wife Rosie.

Don is survived by his partner of 20 years, Diane Henry, and ex-wife Patricia Heick of Orlando. Son John (Beth) Heick of Flagstaff. Daughter Julie (Fred) Shaw of Bemidji. John Henry of Edinburgh, Scotland. Grandchildren Samantha (Jared) Shaw, Jesse (Malenny) Rue, Justin Shaw, Matt & Elise Heick. Three great-grandchildren Calvin, Arthur, and Ellie Lou. Brother Nick (Becky) Heick of Surprise, Ariz. Sister Eileen Mittelstedter of Rapid City.