BELLVILLE: Kathleen S. Heichel, age 71, passed away peacefully Wednesday afternoon, September 13, 2023, in her home with her daughters by her side.
She was born May 2, 1952 at her childhood home in Bellville to Lester and Dorothy (Miller) Fry. She attended Clear Fork High School and made Bellville her home for most of her adult life.
Kathy worked for many years as an accountant, doing book work and payroll for several area businesses, including her daughter’s pet store. Her true gift was creativity expressed in floral design and cakes. With encouragement and help from family and friends, she opened and operated Act 1 flower shop in Ontario and then in Bellville. She was the family birthday cake creator, but she didn’t stop there! Kathy made beautiful wedding cakes and cakes for special events for family and friends.
On March 17, 1995, she married Dan Heichel, the love of her life, with whom she was perfectly matched in shared patriotism and support to area veterans. Kathy became a member of American Legion Auxiliary Unit 535 in 1989, and remained a faithful lifetime member ever since. She managed the Bellville Legion Canteen for many years, but the Auxiliary was were her heart was. Kathy served as Unit President, 5th District President, and Department of Ohio President, as well as nearly every possible leadership position in between. Kathy traveled to veteran’s hospitals and care facilities, participating in programs and presenting flag folding ceremonies with her grandchildren, honoring Veterans on Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. She made many friends at American Legion conventions and conferences throughout the years. She also devoted her time as an Advisor to the Junior Auxiliary for several years and to Bellville Safety Town for 26 years.
Dan and Kathy took pride in their rural Bellville home, maintaining the yard, beautiful flowerbeds, and vegetable garden, a task Kathy meticulously continued in reverence to Dan long after his passing. She wasn’t afraid to take on home improvement projects and loved to rearrange her furniture into new configurations. When Kathy and Dan had time, they loved to travel to their favorite casino, The Mountaineer. Kathy was a wonderful caregiver to family and also had a soft spot for animals, especially those looking for a new home. Over the years, she happily inherited (or pilfered) several cats and dogs from her family; among her favorite being Harley D, Missy, Pepper, Queenie, and lastly, Luke.
Small but mighty, Kathy could be stubborn as a bull, and wasn’t afraid to call ‘em as she saw ‘em. She dearly loved all her grandchildren and spending time in service to veterans alongside Dan, a desire they proudly instilled to their daughters and their families. A steadfast, enthusiastic servant to the veterans of America, Ohio, and Bellville, contributors like Kathy Heichel are one of a kind.
She is survived by her daughters Michelle (Shawn) Davis of Fredericktown, and Deborah (John) Altman of Bellville; five grandchildren: Madison (Briana) Gatena of Bellville, Briana Davis of Shelby, Joshua (Erica Baumgartner) Davis of Butler, Samantha Altman of Bellville, and Gavin Altman of Bellville; three great-grandchildren: Kye and Leona Davis, and Waylon Gatena; siblings Leroy and Karen Fry, Thomas and Kathy Fry, Daniel and Becky Fry, and Delores Muntain; brother-in-law and sister-in-law David and Pat Heichel, and many nieces, nephews and extended family.
Kathy was preceded in death by her beloved husband Dan, brother and sister-in-law Darrell and Carol Fry, sister Patricia Snyder, brother-in-law Gary Muntain, and brother-in-law Donald Heichel, as well as her parents and Dan’s parents.
The family will receive friends Tuesday, September 19, 2023 from 5-8 pm in the Bellville Snyder Funeral Home, where the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 535 and District 5 Auxiliary members will pay a final salute. The funeral service honoring Kathy Heichel’s life will be held Wednesday at 11 am in the funeral home. Burial will follow in Little Washington Cemetery.
Memorial contributions to the American Legion Foundation or the Bellville American Legion Auxiliary Unit 535 may be made at the funeral home.
Visit www.snyderfuneralhomes.com to leave a message of condolence to the family and watch Kathy’s tribute video.
Funeral Home: Bellville Snyder Funeral Home