Leonard Matthew Heiderscheit, 98, of New Albin, IA, passed away on Saturday, May 5, 2018, at Thornton Manor in Lansing, IA. He was born to John and Florence Heiderscheit on June 10, 1919, in Holy Cross, IA.
Leonard lived in Holy Cross until 1941 when he and his brother Charles entered the United States Army. Leonard served in the Aleutian Islands during World War ll and received the Purple Heart for wounds received at Dutch Harbor, Alaska. He participated in the liberation of Attu and Kiska, two American islands occupied by the Japanese. Charles was killed in action in Okinawa. Leonard was a longtime member of the Kenneth Casey VFW Post #5603 of New Albin.
Leonard and his brother Leo founded New Albin Auto Sales, a Chrysler/Plymouth dealership and later purchased a Dodge dealership, Prairie Auto Sales Inc., in Prairie Du Chien, WI. Leonard, not being one to retire, then operated L&M Gas & Go with his son Mark. At 94, he was still pumping gas. Leonard would have to be described as an old fashioned businessman, who was more concerned with service to the public than profit. His civic contributions included funding and, with the help of others, operating an ambulance service in New Albin from the late fifties until the middle sixties. Ambulance services were gratuitous at that time. He served as a volunteer New Albin firefighter. Serving as both a school board member and board president, Leonard was a strong supporter of the former St. George High School. He ensured bus transportation for New Albin students by maintaining and, for a time, personally driving the bus. Compensation for these services was largely waived. In addition, he was recognized by Kee High School for his efforts over the years in helping it have an affordable drivers’ education program as well as a fleet of cars used for other school purposes.
He married Phyllis Imhoff on June 14, 1948. They shared over 61 years together and were blessed with nine children. Leonard’s sense of humor was reflected in his witty sayings and teasing. If he teased you, you were special to him! He lived his faith, loved his family, and enjoyed his friends!
He is survived by nine loving children and nineteen grandchildren: Mike and Melinda (Alecia, Mollie, and Emilie) of Prior, OK, Richard and BeBe of La Crescent, MN, Mary and Alan (Elise and Amy) of Lake City, MN, Julie and Gene (Courtney, McKenze, Gabe, and Quin) of La Crescent, MN, Mark of New Albin, IA, Terry and Kristi (Tessie, Luka, and Noel) of Rochester,MN, Chris and Patty (Evan, Julia, and Colin) of Onalaska, WI, Tim and Jill (Coady and Matt) of New Albin, IA, and Patrick and Janet (Jon and Ellie) of Lansing, IA., as well as fifteen great grandchildren. Also surviving are two sisters, Rosemary Winner and Hazel Schend, a sister-in-law Patricia Curran, many special nieces and nephews, and countless friends.
He was preceded in death by his wife Phyllis; his parents; his brothers, John, Harold, Frank, Charles, and Leo; his sisters Agnes Klaas, Dorothy Crawford, Virginia Saylor, Julie Simon, Janette Dunne, Clara Dolter, and Norma Wagner and their respective spouses as well as his Imhoff in-laws.
A special thank you to his “angel” home-care provider/sparring partner, Keri Becker for the understanding, friendship, loving care, and many smiles she gave Leonard. Many thanks to the Thornton Manor staff who made Leonard a “home away from home” by providing professional care in a kindly, respectful, and compassionate manner.
Visitation will be held from 4-8 PM on Friday, May 11 with a rosary at 4 PM at the New Albin Community Center. Visitation will also be held one hour before the funeral mass at the church. Memorial Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 AM at St. Joseph Catholic Church in New Albin with the celebrant, Father John Moser. Burial will follow in St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery.
Thornburg-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service, Lansing, Iowa is helping the family with the arrangements.