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Joel E. Heckendorf

April 19, 1938 July 21, 2018
Joel E.  Heckendorf
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Obituary for Joel E. Heckendorf
A very unique man began a new life, July 21, 2018. Joel E. Heckendorf was born to Lester Sr. and Mildred (Muelver) Heckendorf on April 19, 1938 in Merrill. Joel graduated from Merrill High in 1956. Early employment came at American Motors in Milwaukee and then short stints at Weinbrenner Shoe Company and Anson-Gilkey in Merrill. Joel retired from Wausau Papers in 1999 as a millwright. He also had been a member of the National Guard.

On July 23, 1966, he married Fran Nicholson at St. John Ev. Lutheran Church in Merrill which endured just two days short of fifty-two years. This union brought daughter Lisa (Mark) Gajewski and son Lee Heckendorf (Leah Lorbiecki). Eventually leading to honorary daughter Angela Grefe and her daughter Iris Waldvogel. Five grandchildren joined the clan; Luke Gajewski of Kaukauna, Logan Gajewski and Jake Gajewski both of Wausau, and Justis Heckendorf and Ravyn Heckendorf both of Wausau. They were later joined by Skylar Lorbiecki of Wausau, Ty Lorbiecki of Merrill and of course Iris Waldvogel of Wausau. All treasures.

Being very sports-minded Joel loved attending the events of grandchildren. Poor health began to hinder this. He was proud to be a Golden “M-er”. In younger days he took part in all activities he could pack in. Many wild times to Milwaukee for Braves and Brewers games and unforgettable trips to Summer Fest. He also umpired ball games; never to admit a call error. He pretty much had memorized the rule books. Pitching slo-pitch for “Blatz Bombers” gave him the nickname “Catfish” which remained throughout his life along with Red Tennys, his choice of shoe. After-glow of these games was so enjoyed and always included lots of Blatz with all and especially with ‘Buck’ Schneider, his idol.

Joel was predeceased by his parents; brother, Lester ‘Tiny’ (Marion) Heckendorf, Jr.; brother-in-law, Levi (Nettie) Nicholson; brother-in-law, Dan (Cecile) Nicholson; and sister-in-law, Liz Nicholson.

He is survived by many nieces and nephews including Tiny’s children, Lori (Glen) Simonis and Mark (Beth) Heckendorf both of Merrill. His brothers-in-law, Jim Nicholson of Monona, Nels Nicholson (Donna Berndt) of Antigo and Dell (Brenda) Nicholson of Antigo.

Joel could be very entertaining and had a host of friends but could also be outspoken. His friends understood this and life went on.

So many thanks and much appreciation to all his medical personnel, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, and the Town of Pine River first responders. Good Job! Rest easy Joey-you’ll have those angels straightened out in no time!!

A memorial visitation will be held from 10:00 A.M. until 12:00 P.M., Noon, Saturday, July 28, 2018 at the Taylor-Stine Funeral Home, Merrill.

Online condolences may be made at
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10:00 AM 7/28/2018 10:00:00 AM - 12:00 PM 7/28/2018 12:00:00 PM
Taylor-Stine Funeral Home

903 E. Third St.
Merrill, WI 54452

Taylor-Stine Funeral Home
903 E. Third St. Merrill 54452 WI
United States

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