Bob Heilman passed away peacefully on August 12 after suffering from dementia for many years.
Bob was born in Manor Township near Pittsburgh, PA on November 17, 1940. Bob grew up in Ford City, PA with his brother Bill and parents Ted and Rose. He got his Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics at the University of Pittsburgh and a Master’s degree in Statistics at the University of Oregon where he became a tenured professor. While in Oregon he adopted 5 of his 6 kids with his forme r wife Sandy. He left teaching and became what he liked to call “a migrant hi tech worker”. He worked all over the country at hi tech companies and set up a computer science department at the University of Newfoundland. He was very outgoing and his students loved hanging out with him.
In 1987 he met his soulmate, Phyllis, and they married. In 1995 Bob and Phyllis both dropped out of computer software and moved to Astoria, OR. They could not afford to retire and bought two restaurants and bars. Bob liked to brag that he was in charge of washing dishes, doing lunch deliveries and fix-it master.
Bob loved being a volunteer fire fighter in the Netarts/Oceanside Fire Department. He and Phyllis cracked a lot of eggs for many of the “Burnt Sausage and Pancake” breakfasts. He was also known as the “Scotch Broom King” of Oceanside. He was obsessed with keeping Norwester, Cedar, and Maxwell Mountain Roads clear of scotch broom. From 2007 to 2010 Bob and Phyllis were foster parents to many kids. Bob also loved the ballet and he and Phyllis traveled all over the world. In politics, he was a passionate liberal. Most of all Bob was kind, funny, bright and memorable. He never knew a stranger.
Bob is survived by his wife Phyllis Ham, his faithful dog Bo, his brother Bill an d his wife Nancy of Ford City, PA, his children Heidi Klassen of San Leandro, CA, Tim Heilman and his wife Leah of Elk, WA, Michelle Lawrence and her husband Norman of Irvington, NJ, Tony Heilman and his wife Carrie of Reno, NV, Eric Heilman of Sacramento, CA, and last, but not least Lyssa Heilman of Sacramento, CA. Bob also was stepdad to Phyllis’s son Jeff and his wife Arlene. Bob’s 12 grandkids were the light of his life – Hailey, Max, And Lizzie Heilman of Elk, WA, Zack and Andrew Heilman of Reno, NV, M ichael and Everett Lawrence, and Alex Hayden of Irvington, NJ, Mitchell and Lainey Klassen of San Leandro, CA, and Riley and Ashlan Ham of Houston, TX. The kids called him the tickle monster.
A celebration of life will be held Sat, Sept. 21, from 12 to 2 at Pacific Restaurant in Tillamook. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association.