Thursday, March 19, 2009

William Heller, 1928-2009

Last May, my family and I surprised my grandpa for his 80th birthday. He told us his birthday wish was to make it to 81.

My grandpa passed away today. Even though his health has been in decline for many years and we all viewed this is as "a long time coming," I am profoundly sad.

I want to share a poem I wrote about my grandpa during the fall of my junior year in college, two years ago.

William Heller, 1928-

When I was little,
My nickname for you was Turtle.
Face it: you have a Jewish schnoz.
Today, you are a turtle.

Shuffling slowly, dragging,
hiding in your Delray Beach
condo shell with a view,
puzzling crosswords in the living room.

Grandpa, please wear long-sleeve shirts.
Shocking purple bruises cover your arms.
Your blood is too thin.
Let's pretend you don't feel pain.

Tell me how many more years you have.
I'll meet a nice boy--we'll marry.
Dress you in a tux--we'll dance.
The distinguished hip osteoporosis jig.

Found this when, out of curiosity, we were googling ourselves at work. [5/3/09]

William Hirsh Heller

HELLER, William Hirsh Age 80. Formerly of Richmond, VA. Passed away March 19, 2009. Mr. Heller, born in Boston, graduated from Carneige-Mellon University in 1949 with a degree in Theater Arts. He moved to Richmond with his wife Miriam in 1958 where he lived until 1995. He worked in the life insurance industry most of his career before retiring as an insurance agent with Julius Strauss and Sons. He was also very active in Richmond's Jewish Community. After Miriam's death, Mr. Heller married Ann Serwitz and relocated to Delray Beach, FL where he lived until he moved to the Waterford Senior Living Community in Nashville in 2007. Son of Reita Hirsh and Edmond A. Heller of Boston, MA, Mr. Heller was preceded in death by his wife, Miriam Chipman. He is survived by his daughter, Carolyn Heller Baird and son-in-law, David Baird of Atlanta, GA; son, David Heller and daughter-in-law, Geralyn of Nashville, TN; brothers, Edmond Heller and sister-in-law, Madeline of Palm Beach Gardens, FL and Robert Heller of Atlanta; granddaughters, Rachael Baird of Minneapolis, MN, Abigail Baird of Atlanta, Sarah Heller, Catherine Heller and Grace Heller all of Nashville; former spouse, Ann Heller of Delray Beach, FL. A memorial service will be held in Nashville at Congregation Micah, 2001 Old Hickory Blvd., Brentwood, TN 37027 on Sunday, March 29, 2009 at 2:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Jewish Family Services of Middle Tennessee, 801 Percy Warner Blvd., Nashville, TN 37205, (615) 356-4234.

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