Joanne Heitmann

December 26, 1930 ~ November 17, 2020 (age 89)


Heitmann, Joanne Wighard
89, born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania December 26, 1930 went to her eternal rest peacefully on November 17, 2020 in Syracuse, NY.
Funeral Mass will be held in Tampa, FL December 3, 2020 
Condolences may be offered at: 
A Funeral Mass will be offered at Christ the King Catholic Church, 821 South Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa, Florida on Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 2:00 pm.  Visitation will be one hour prior in the Narthex, at 1:00 pm., with a reception following.
Livestream at 2:00 pm:  Scroll to live Funeral.  The funeral will not be archived for later viewing.

Heitmann, Joanne Wighard
89, born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania December 26, 1930 went to her eternal rest peacefully on November 17, 2020 in Syracuse, NY.  She was preceded in death March 19, 1999 by her husband of 47 years, Ward H. Heitmann.  She is also predeceased by her parents Anna Grace (Uhler) Wighard and Joseph G. Wighard of Rahway, New Jersey, and her granddaughter Michelle Heitmann of Saugerties, New York.
Joanne is survived by her children-Scott (Maggie) Heitmann of Pennellville, NY, Lynda (Roger) Wells of Kerhonkson, NY, Deborah (Jeffrey) Stockin of Sand Lake, NY, Janise (Michael) McElveen of Tampa, FL and Erric (Jennifer) Heitmann of Jamesville, NY.  Other survivors include her brother, Ronald J. Wighard (Brenda Rose) of Mays Landing, NJ; eleven grandchildren, thirteen great grandchildren, and two great great grand-children, nieces, nephews and great nieces and great nephews.  
Her last three years have been difficult for us all with the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and its progression, but we are blessed and so grateful that our brother, Scott and his wife Maggie opened their home to her to care for her in her remaining years.  It was an act of love and charity during this stage of her life.
Mom lived a Christian life-exemplified in her compassion to all, to lend a listening ear, a helping hand to all of God’s creatures, from its smallest to the largest and looked for His beauty in all created things-nature, people, and all creatures. She possessed a great peace that permeated her being.  Her endurance and creativity are unmatched, particularly in her younger days. She was always grateful to the smallest kindness shown to her, and so happy to be present for that moment, and the next moment that would come. She had an unfailing optimism that was innate to her being.  Oh, and justice?  Mom had to only ‘raise her eyebrow’ and glance your way….sometimes she would exclaim, “Oh, you!” In exasperation.  It was enough for us to know that we had done something that was ‘unacceptable’ to her, or to others. When contrite, all was forgiven and forgotten with her. In all circumstances Mom was hopeful, even those times that seemed without hope.  She saw, and wanted to see the best in everyone and every circumstance.  It was how she lived her life.  She was a wonderful model to us all.
Joanne loved her family, and it brought her great pleasure to be present for each birthday, christening, anniversary, wedding and funeral.  She would come bearing her awesome cheesecake, brownies and cookies. She never wanted to miss anything, and loved to be included in each part of family life.  For years she never missed sending each one of her children, their spouses, and grandchildren birthday or anniversary cards.
Joanne, (Mom) was a creative and talented person in all aspects of her life, from working as a clothing model for department stores in New Jersey, to dancing on roller skates and ice skates, raising horses, teaching herself the skill of dog grooming, with the elaborate and fancy shapes poodles were known for.  She was an art and craft lover and really enjoyed putting her mind and creative talent to work on creating things of beauty. Mom taught herself to paint, and loved to share those paintings with her family. She was an avid gardener and was known for her beautiful gardens; she loved flowers of sizes, shapes and colors. A favorite past-time was card games-for years whenever extended family got together they would play cribbage and pinochle. Later her games were Scrabble, Triominos and Rummy Cube, and various card games of which we had a hard time ever getting a ‘win’ in over her. She loved to sew, do crewel work, knit and crochet. If she came across something that she was not familiar with, she would look at it for a bit, thinking deeply, and figure it out-usually to great result. Somehow she fit all these things in while having —-horses, raising poodles, 3 sheep, 2 pigs and several egg laying hens…..oh, and that rooster-we won’t get into him-he was mean! All of this while maintaining her marriage, a household, and raising five children!
She and Dad loved to entertain, and to be entertained-there were oftentimes great gatherings around the dining room table when each of her children seemed to have a friend ‘happen to be there’ at dinner time, and then invited to join us for the meal.  Christmas and New Year was also a big deal-lifelong friends of Mom and Dad’s from New Jersey would come to our home in upstate NY with their families to spend several days over the holiday following Christmas.  We would have a house full to overflowing with friends, fun, stories, games, and lots of food and merriment.
In 1972, Mom and Dad moved to St. Petersburg, Floridawith their two youngest children. It was there that their love for entertaining really shone forth.  Almost every weekend they would plan and prepare appetizers, beverages, a meal and card games with friends. They were both friends to young and old-age did not matter to them, they enjoyed people of all ages, it was a wonderful exposure of hospitality to all.  It was about that time that Tyrone Square Mall opened, which was an oddity/exciting proposition for us coming from a rural area, Disney World had just opened, in 1973 the Inverted Pier in downtown St. Pete opened.  It was an exciting time, with so much to do!  They really loved the Florida lifestyle during the four years that they lived there, the local beaches, swimming, the many cruises that departed from Florida to destinations further south, the ‘easy’ relatively year-round ability to be outdoors, and oh yes, the entertaining…. 
All things end, and they found that despite all the many opportunities here, they missed being closer to the family and the distinct change of seasons along the ‘softer light’ that the north brings compared to the 365 days of full sun in St. Pete. She, Dad and the youngest, Erric- moved to Dexter, NY, a small town near Watertown, NY, 10 miles or so east of Lake Ontario, 15 miles from the Canadian border.  They purchased an old farmhouse with land, renovated it and lived there for 41 years, as owners and ‘chief staff’ of the Dutch Mill Inn, a small local restaurant. This home became the destination where all their children, grandkids, and other family members would come to visit, play in the large open spaces, and some would make it their home for a time, until life and opportunity called them elsewhere.
Wherever Mom and Dad lived-from New Jersey, New York State, Florida and back to New York she quickly made the place her home-our home; and soon acquired many friends.  If you understand the phrase ‘A stranger is just a friend that I haven’t met yet’, that would be Mom.  She welcomed all to the menagerie that is the Heitmann Family. Mom loved meeting people, learning about them and having a ‘new friend’ in her life circle, always so willing for an adventure, and a fun day out. 
As Jesus came that Tuesday afternoon to quietly whisper her name, she went willingly, peacefully with her Lord.  Mom has found her ‘true home’, her eternal home, where all of creation sings the song of love, where colors are new and vibrant, the wind gently caresses the soul, the birds make their joyful song to all.  Mom, we love you. Your legacy of love lives in each of us. 
May the choir of angels come to greet you.
May they speed you to paradise. 
May the Lord enfold you in His mercy. 
May you find eternal life. 

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Funeral Mass
December 3, 2020

2:00 PM
King Catholic Church (Tampa, FL, South Dale Mabry Highway, Florida)

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