November 30, 1930 – Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Zion Lutheran Church, Buffalo, MN
Monday, September 19, 2016
The Peterson Chapel of Buffalo
Sunday, September 18, 2016
3:00 – 7:00 PM
George F. Heller, III, longtime resident of Buffalo, Minnesota, passed from this life on Tuesday, September 13th, 2016, surrounded by his family. George was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota on November 30, 1930 to George F. Heller, II and Margaret (Nagel) Heller. He had two older sisters, Dorothy and Eileen. He graduated from Harding High School in June of 1947 and then drove truck for a meat packing company for one year in order to save up enough money to begin his college education. He studied instrumental music at the College of St. Thomas under the guidance of Professor Francis Mayer. His principal instrument was the clarinet, but he played all instruments and earned additional funds for college by playing in local jazz bands, ice shows and musical theater productions.
He married Eunice E. Follingstad on January 28, 1956 and together they raised three daughters: Karen, Gretchen and Morgan. George was a loving and devoted father and his family meant everything to him.
George taught instrumental music at Taylors Falls and Lyle, Minnesota before he and Eunice moved to Buffalo in the fall of 1960. He taught instrumental music to the elementary and junior/senior high school students in Buffalo, Montrose and Hanover until a new high school was built in Buffalo in the early 1970’s. He then chose to continue teaching the elementary and junior high students until his retirement in 1987. He fondly remembered his former students over the years, always referring to them as “my kids”. He was very proud of them all and sought to give them an appreciation for music that would last an entire lifetime.
George was an avid motorcycling enthusiast and traveled all across the United States, Canada and Europe. He was a gifted woodworker and clock maker and studied World War II aviation history in his spare time. He was a 50+ year member of the Masonic Lodge and Eastern Star having served as Master of the Lodge and as Worthy Patron.
George is survived by his devoted daughters, Karen (Scott Jondro) Heller of Minneapolis, MN, Gretchen (Richard) Katzenberger of Buffalo, MN and Morgan Heller of Buffalo, MN; grandsons, Benjamin Monroe and Jesse Lawrence; many loving nieces and nephews; sister-in-law, Loretta Follingstad; and special friend, Lorraine Venaas. He is also survived by his Family of the Heart: Joachim and Elke Ahlers of Westhofen, Germany, and Deb Lefebvre of Buffalo, MN; Grandchildren of his Heart: Hannes and Emma Ahlers, and Sophie, Sam, Henry and Lucy Lefebvre. He was preceded in death by his parents; wife; sisters and their spouses; nieces, Irene Scott and Ruth Foucault; and great-nephew, Danny Thesenvitz. He was also preceded in death by his beloved friends: Raymond O. Howe, Sheldon Fertig, Sr. and Eric Lefebvre.
Visitation will take place Sunday, September 18th, 2016 from 3 o’clock to 7 o’clock p.m. at The Peterson Chapel, Buffalo, Minnesota.
A celebration of his life will be held on Monday, September 19th, 2016 at 11 o’clock a.m. at Zion Lutheran Church, Buffalo, Minnesota. Pastor Luke Schmidt will officiate. Further visitation will take place one hour before the service at church. A private family service will be held at Lakeview Cemetery following the service.
Honorary Casket Bearers will be Scott Jondro and Paul Thesenvitz.
Casket Bearers will be Gretchen Katzenberger, Richard Katzenberger, Karen Heller, Michael Luth, William Luth and Patricia Bailey.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital.
Serving the family is The Peterson Chapel of Buffalo. 763-682-1363. www.thepetersonchapel.com.