Random Acts of Living

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Harold C. Heinrichs, My Father

Heinrichs, Harold “Harry” C., peacefully joined heavens choir Thursday, September 10. Harold was born December 13, 1925 in Kirk, Colorado to Cornelius P. and Helena (Klassen) Heinrichs. He was the middle boy of five brothers and a little sister. At home Harold learned the qualities of Christ's love that carried him throughout his life. He also learned the joy of song and fellowship with friends and family. Harold also loved his country and December 8, 1943 he enlisted in the Marines. As a radio operator and tail gunner of a Hellcat he participated in the occupation of China. Sergeant Heinrichs, with a Good Conduct Medal was honorably discharged July 9, 1946. Upon his return, he worked with his brother, Arthur, as a blacksmith, did some farming and even worked as a rancher in the mountains of Colorado, his home state. He then made his way east to Goodland. It was there he met and married his wife of 59 years, Vida Nielee "Lee" Seigal, and became a foreman for Rhoads Construction. While at Rhoads, he met John Evans and Archie Lynch, his eventual business partners. After the three worked as sub-contractors on the first Learjet building in Wichita in 1960, they decided Wichita might be a good location to go into business for themselves. So, two years later, they founded Evans Building Co., which specialized in commercial and industrial construction where Harold worked till his retirement in 2007. At home Harold was involved in his Church, Southwest Presbyterian, as an Elder, adult Sunday School teacher and singing in the choir among other activities. He was active in Boys Scouts for many years, going on camp outs and teaching the boys songs around the campfire. In his community he was active in the Southwest Neighborhood Association whose concern was the welfare and safety of those living in the community. Another organization that Harold was deeply involved with was the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, being a National member and also a member, and on the board of, the local Golden Wheat Chapter. Through AHSGR Harold and his family shared a bond with others going back to ancestry of German colonies living in Russia for hundreds of years. By doing various volunteer work to raise funds, money sent to the National Headquarters helped to save and purchase vital documents that had been "lost" for years behind "the wall" dividing Russia from the rest of the world and Harold was able to connect with his Mennonite ancestry that had before been unknown. A hobby that he enjoyed was wood carving and he had a fondness for carving 3 dimensional pictures of covered bridges. In all this Harold shared his love of singing and a constant in his life was his guitar and song. Harold and his wife, sometimes accompanied by grandchildren traveled hundreds of miles many times over the years attending family reunions for both of their families. Harold loved and was greatly loved by all his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren which he spent as much time with as he could. Harold is survived by his loving family; wife, Lee; son, Kent (Debbie); and daughters, Leann (Ben) Strobel, Norwich KS; Carol, Tucson AZ; grandchildren; Melissa (Aaron) Goodman; Jerry, Ted & Bobby Strobel; Shandy (Keith) Worsham, Shad (Melissa) Valentine, Harry & Jimmy Sammon; 16 great-grandchildren; brother, Wesley (Ann), sister, Kathy (Gordon) Fahlgren and sister-in-law Ima; many nieces and nephews and extended family John Ross, Lucy and Hong Fritts and Willa Applegate. Visitation at Resthaven Mortuary will begin Monday at 11am till 9pm Tuesday. Services will be at Southwest Presbyterian Church on Wednesday at 10am. Interment will be at Resthaven Cemetery at 11:30am. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to any of our Veterans groups or a charity of your personal preference.

The Wichita Eagle has also done a written an Obituary for the Business section in today's paper. I copy it here below...

The Wichita Eagle

In an industry where sharp words are often spoken, Harold "Harry" Heinrichs brought a sense of humor, kindness and respect to construction sites.

A co-founder of Evans Building Co., which has operated in Wichita since 1962, he also had a can-do attitude.

"He was the most congenial guy, easy to get along with," said Larry Hopper of Hopper's Glass, who worked for more than 40 years on job sites with Mr. Heinrichs. "Whatever he said went. All it took was a handshake. You didn't need a contract."

Mr. Heinrichs died Thursday at a Wichita hospital. He was 83.

In an interview with The Eagle shortly before Mr. Heinrichs retired in January 2008, his wife, Lee, recalled the time he fell 15 feet off a Brewster schoolhouse roof.

"I didn't fall off, I walked off," he said with a chuckle.

A native of Colorado, Mr. Heinrichs joined the Marines at the age of 18 and served in the Pacific during World War II. He returned to Colorado to work as a blacksmith, farmer and rancher.

He later moved to Goodland, where he met Lee. They celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary Sept. 2 at the hospital.

Mr. Heinrichs helped found Evans Building with John Evans and Archie Lynch shortly after the three worked together at Rhoads Construction in Goodland.

Bill Johnson, now president of Evans Building and John Evans' nephew, has been with the company full time since 1973.

"Harry wasn't afraid to teach you anything," Johnson said. "And he always looked at the good side no matter what was going on."

As the company's general superintendent, Mr. Heinrichs was on the front line in dealing with customers.

"They liked him because he was a hands-on guy," Johnson said. "There was nothing he couldn't build."

During Evans Building's early years, it bid on a contract for a particularly large, complex structure for an Emporia company.

Johnson said the company owner called Mr. Heinrichs and asked, "Have you ever built anything like this?"

"No, I haven't," Mr. Heinrichs replied.

"Can you do it?," the owner asked.

"It goes together one piece at a time," Mr. Henrichs replied, "so it won't be a problem."

Johnson said that was typical of Mr. Heinrichs.

"There wasn't anything he was afraid to tackle," Johnson said. "He kept it simple."

For a number of years before he officially retired, Mr. Heinrichs came to work three days a week to repair equipment and tools.

"He was very caring and fun-loving," Kent Heinrichs said of his father. "I don't know if he ever met a stranger. He liked people."

Mr. Heinrichs was also a former deacon at his church, Southwest Presbyterian, and in recent years was active with the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia.

Besides his wife and son, he is survived by two daughters, Leann Strobel and Carol Heinrichs.

The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Southwest Presbyterian Church, 1511 W. 27th St. South. Interment is at 11:30 a.m. at Resthaven Mortuary and Cemetery, 11800 W. Kellogg.


Anonymous said...

condolences to you, Kent,Carol, and Lee; as well as the grands and great grands. I have sure enjoyed spending many occasions with Harry, and will miss him. Iknow however that he is rejoicing with his Savior and that lessens the sadnessof his leaving this world. With Love and Prayers for all...ems

Moonshadow said...

ems - Thank you. It is a comfort knowing that dad is able to again sing God's praises without tiring. The last thing he did before passing was sing a song with his pastor.

Anonymous said...

I was sad to hear of Uncle Harry's passing. I know he has joined my dad, his other brothers, and family in heaven harmonizing and praising Jesus. My prayers have been with you, Aunt Lee, and your siblings.
With love,
Christine Heinrichs, Covina, CA

Moonshadow said...

And Ohhh how they could harmonize! Christine, do you have a copy of CD that was made from the 78 records?

Alicia @ boylerpf said...

Oh...My deepest condolences. Your father sounded like a beautiful man inside and out as evidenced by his love for people and theirs for him. May he sing praises in Heaven strumming his guitar!

Linda said...

My condolences to you and your family.

Your posts about him are full of love and I know you will miss him sorely.

Peter said...

Your father certainly led a full life, and not an easy one at that by the looks. They were tough times back then obviously, with his deeds going on to make a better place for you and your family. Goes without saying really. My condolences to you and your family.

Take Care,

Anita said...

I'm so sorry to hear this... If you need anything, let me know... I'm also sorry I've been so "out of it" for so long.

Lucy said...

I love your dad and mom, I also like your blog,enjoyed visiting,especially that bent object and moonshadow's poetries,beautiful and nice.Lucy

Oz Girl said...

I am so sorry to hear of your father's passing... I know how much that much hurt. My father passed away almost 3 years ago, and sometimes it still does not seem possible... *hugs* to you!