Christian Phillip Heil Jr., 97, passed away in Salem, Oregon on Oct. 5, 2019. Born Nov. 15, 1921 in Deadwood, South Dakota to Christian Phillip Sr. and Margaret Heil.
He spent his early years growing up in Deadwood with his six brothers and sisters and enjoyed bird hunting in Eastern South Dakota with his dad and brothers and fishing the creeks and lakes of the Black Hills where they lived. In high school he played on the basketball team and was always proud they had won the State Championship in 1940, the year he graduated high school.
In the 1930s, Chris’s father built a cabin in Spearfish Canyon in the Black Hills. A special place that has been used for many years as a gathering place for vacations, reunions, weddings and birthdays. The “Cabin” was a very special place to Chris where he enjoyed taking his family on their vacations. A place that is still loved and enjoyed by many today.
In the 1940s Chris moved to Portland, Oregon to work in the Henry Kaiser Shipyard during World War II where they built oil tankers and launched about four a week. After the war he went to work for Pacific Northwest Bell in Astoria Oregon. While in Astoria he enjoyed Chinook Salmon fishing on the Columbia River, something he would enjoy his entire life. It was there that he met Vera Johnson and they were married in Warrenton Oregon on June 2, 1950. Chris and Vera lived in Warrenton before moving to Bay City in 1954, then to Tillamook in 1958 where they purchased their home and spent their time building a life together and raising their three children. Chris continued to work for Pacific Northwest Bell in Tillamook until his retirement in 1983.
Chris was always busy on one project or another, whether it was building something, fixing something or working in his yard, never one to sit around much until his work was finished for the day. Chris was known for his beautiful back yard where he grew many flowers, rhododendrons, azaleas, lilacs, hydrangeas and always a vegetable garden, berries and a small greenhouse where he grew tomatoes. He would always say “I just like to watch things grow.” Chris’s other interests included golfing (several holes-in-one), clamming, duck hunting, bird watching and always fishing for Fall Chinook in the rivers and tidewaters around Tillamook County. He was also a big Trailblazer basketball fan.
Chris was a devoted husband, father and brother, a hard working, fun loving and generous man who loved his family and friends and was loved by many. He will be greatly missed.
Chris is survived by his sister Ruth Stevenson of Kennebunk,Maine; his three children, Jon (Beverly) Heil of Portland Oregon; Mary (Steve) Baty of Salem Oregon; Jan (Kurt) Heckeroth of Netarts Oregon. Grandchildren Matthew Heil, Christopher Heil and Leah (Roy) Noble all of Portland; Lisa (Chi) Nguyen, Scott (Christy) Baty and Grant Baty all of Salem; Megan Heckeroth and Justin Rasmussen of Palm Desert, California. Great Grandchildren Gavin, Carter, Nathan, Brynna, Tanner, Luca and many nieces, nephews and their families.
Chris was preceded in death by his loving wife Vera of 65 years, his parents, sisters Ethel Beaty and Helen Harrington, brothers Don, Larry and Daryl Heil. There will be no memorial service per Chris’s request. Many thanks to all friends and family, his golfing friends, fishing friends and neighbors for being such an important part of Chris’s long, happy and well-lived life.