John Heilman III 1953-2013

Posted March 19, 2013 at 4:59 pm

John Heilman III, age 59, of Huron, S.D., died Sunday, March 10, 2013 at Huron Regional Medical Center in Huron with his family by his side.  His memorial service was held Saturday, March 16, at Welter Funeral Home with burial at a later date. Visit

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John was diagnosed with cancer nearly four years ago and has been valiantly fighting it all the way.  He may have lost the battle Sunday morning, but he won the war and is now with the Lord awaiting a family reunion on High.

John Benjamin Heilman III was born October 8, 1953 in Miller, S.D.  He grew up in Miller and graduated from Miller High in 1971. He attended SDSU for one year. Then, he was hired onto a custom harvest crew where he traveled around the United States.

It was there that he met the love of his life, Cathy Reiniger. John and Cathy married on June 4, 1977 in Sleepy Eye, Minn. They resided in Miller for one year and have lived in Huron since 1978.

In 1981, John and his brother Craig bought the Heilman family farm that has been in the family since it was homesteaded by John’s great-grandfather. With the help of their brother, Doug, and father, J.B., the family carried on the farming tradition. Farming was his way of life and the families spent many weekends with friends and family. The coffeepot was always on and plenty of snacks to go with it. Along with farming, John also worked for Terex-Telelect as a machinist for 19 years.

He lived a full and happy life of farming, flying, grilling, raising a family, telling jokes, and making homemade ice cream for the holidays.  He was a true outdoorsman, avid hunter, and conservationist. His favorite pastime was skiing. He shared his passion for skiing by teaching all his loved ones how to make graceful turns down the snowy mountainside.

Grateful for having shared in John’s life are his wife of 35 years, Cathy Heilman of Huron; two daughters, Christina (Austin) Geiger of Driggs, Idaho, and Melissa Heilman of Huron; one son, John Heilman IV of Phoenix, Ariz.; and one granddaughter, Alena Heilman of Huron; his parents, John Heilman, Jr. and Lucille of Miller; one sister, Linda (John) Palmer of Billings, Mont.; two brothers, Craig Heilman of Huron and Douglas Heilman of Gann Valley, S.D.; and many nieces and nephews.

John was preceded in death by his grandparents.

John Heilman III 1953-2013