Rev. Father Edward George Heitjan, CSV died on Sunday evening, December 31, 1989 at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield where he had been a patient for several weeks. Following surgery for an abcessed lung, Ed suffered a severe stroke and a heart attack. After two weeks in intensive care, he died quietly on New Year’s Eve at the age of 65.
Ed’s ministry as a Viatorian extended into both secondary education and parochial work. He began at Spalding Institute in Peoria where for eleven years (1952-1963) he served as teacher, Dean of Studies and eventually as Assistant Principal. In 1963 he was sent to Griffin High School in Springfield where for another eleven years he worked in administration as Assistant Principal for one year and as Principal for ten years. His move into parochial ministry came in 1974 when, after a short few months at St. Joseph’s, he was appointed pastor of St. Patrick’s parish in Kankakee. This “second career” continued in 1980 when he went West to Las Vegas as Associate Pastor of the Cathedral (1980-1983) and then at St. Viator in Las Vegas (1983-1985). In 1985 he returned to the area that he loved, the Diocese of Springfield, and took up the pastorates of Sacred Heart Church in Oconee and St. Joseph parish in Ramsey, Illinois. His four years of service there were a time of great happiness for him and for “his people.”
Visitation was at Sacred Heart Church, Oconee, from 2:00 – 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 3, 1990. Because that Church is so small, the Mass of Christian Burial was held at St. Patrick Church in Pana, Illinois at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday. Burial was Queen of Heaven Cemetery at 11:00 a.m. on Friday preceeded by a visitation beginning at 10:30 a.m. in the chapel there.
Father Ed is survived by one sister, Mrs. Marie Schmantowsky, and three brothers, John, Donald and Bernard, all from the Detroit area. Please remember Ed in your prayers and gather to celebrate Eucharist for the repose of his soul.
Taken from letter to the Viatorian Community on January 1, 1990 from the Provincial, Rev. Patrick W. Render, CSV