Llewellyn T. “Lou” Heine, who was awarded a Purple Heart during the Korean War and who along with his wife, Martha, was named Riverside Person of the Year in 1999, died March 19, 2019 at the age of 89.
“He was a wonderful husband and father, and he was fun to be with, I tell you,” said Martha Heine. “The outpouring about him has been unbelievable.”
Although he grew up on a farm in North Dakota, Mr. Heine became a fixture in Riverside, active as a volunteer in Riverside Little League, as a member of fraternal organizations and at Riverside Presbyterian Church.
He was also a fixture in Riverside’s annual Fourth of July parade, chauffeuring the Riverside Person of the Year in his Model A Ford.
Mr. Heine was born Nov. 18, 1929, in Ellendale, North Dakota, growing up on a farm where, he told the Landmark during a 2016 interview, chores like slaughtering animals likely helped him cope with the carnage he would experience later as a U.S. Navy corpsman, that service branch’s name for a combat medic, during the Korean War.
The Great Depression was a hard time for the Heine family, and his father gave up the farm in 1940 to move the family to Largo, Florida, near St. Petersburg, where his grandparents lived.
After graduating from high school in 1947, Mr. Heine enlisted in the Navy in 1949. He spent a year on active duty before being assigned to the reserves. But a few months after the Korean War started in 1950, Mr. Heine was called back to active duty.
He trained to be a corpsman at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where he saw the first of the seriously wounded Marines sent back from Korea to recover in the U.S.
“I took out more insurance,” Heine said of his reaction to the experience. “I thought I’d probably get knocked off there.”
Mr. Heine served with a weapons company in the 1st Marine Regiment, 2nd Battalion starting in May 1951 and after about a month experienced his first artillery barrage and its awful human cost and the terror of battle.
“You’re scared to death,” Mr. Heine told the Landmark in 2016. “When you have to run back there with the bombs and all of that, you’re terrified. But the main thing is you do your work on your stomach.”
He was wounded in September 1951 during the Battle of the Punchbowl, struck in the right arm by artillery shrapnel. It was his last action in combat, and he left Korea in 1952.
Mr. Heine attended the University of Florida after the war, earning a degree in agronomy and meeting Martha Karg, whom he would marry in 1954. He got a job in the equipment engineering department at the Western Electric Company, where he would work for 33 years, retiring in 1990.
The Heines first moved to a townhome on Desplaines Avenue in North Riverside and, after the birth of their third child in 1962, moved to their home on Gage Road. The couple was in the process of selling their longtime home and moving to an assisted living facility when Mr. Heine died.
In the 1970s, he was president of Riverside Little League, when the organization’s board of directors voted to allow girls to play T-ball. In retirement, he also became extremely active in the Riverside Township Lions Club, American Legion Post 488 and the Salt Creek Model A Club.
Mr. and Mrs. Heine loved traveling all over the country every other year to Marine Corps reunions, and in the 1980s drove across the country on a motorcycle multiple times to visit their sons in California
“We’ve been all over the country on a motorcycle,” Martha Heine said.
When Mr. Heine reached his early 80s, the couple opted to buy a RV and travel the country that way, instead.
Later in life, Mr. Heine also began carving hobby horses – gliders – learning how to carve heads from English craftsman Anthony Dew. He carved nine in all, three each (a small, medium and large one) for his three granddaughters. He finished the final one just months ago.
“He loved working with his hands,” Martha Heine said.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Heine is survived by his children, Michael D. (Gwen), Jeffrey W. (Charlotte) and Kevin T. (Jeannie); his grandchildren, Leanne, Alison and Samantha; and his great-grandchildren Emilia and Henry. He was the brother of Darwin, Mavis and Orville.
A memorial service will be held at a later date. Ivins/Moravecek Funeral Home, Riverside, handled arrangements.