In Memory

Leon Heimberger (Teacher)

Leon Thomas Heimberger, former Niles School Teacher, 81, of South Bend, passed away at the Center for Hospice in Roseland on Wednesday, May 29, 2019, with his family by his side.

Leon was born in Mansfield, Ohio on December 17, 1937, to the late Clarence and Naomi (Bowen) Heimberger. He graduated from Mansfield High School in 1955.  He started his tool and die apprenticeship, but the following year attended Spring Arbor Junior College where he graduated in 1958 with his Associate Degree in General Studies. He then enlisted in the United States Army where he served stateside for three and a half years in Tacoma, Washington. Leon then moved back to Michigan where he attended Eastern Michigan University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Arts and started teaching in Port Huron, Michigan from 1964 to 1966.  He then attended Western Michigan University where he earned his Master’s Degree in Vocational Education.  He was then hired by Niles High School to teach the Vocational Machine Shop program.  The following year he became a Cooperative Education Coordinator where he worked for 40 years and served the students of Niles, Brandywine, and Buchanan High Schools.  During this time he organized the Southwestern Michigan Coordinators Association and also attended the University of Michigan for a leadership development program.  He was selected as Southwestern Michigan Coordinator of the Year in 1983, elected president of the association in 1992, and stayed active in state affairs and conferences.  In 1993 Leon was selected to be the Michigan Coordinator of the Year. 

Leon was a member of the Niles City Club, Society of Manufacturing Engineers, Michigan Association of School Placement, and the Michigan Career Placement Association.  He was an active member in the following churches: Free Methodist, First Baptist, and Unity Church of Peace. He also volunteered at the United Methodist Church of South Bend Soup Kitchen for many years and also assisted people with their resumes and job search. 

In 1960 Leon wed Elizabeth “Betty” Behrens and had three children.  He later wed Mary (Devin) Moore and accepted her children into his life as his own.

Leon enjoyed country western dancing, ballroom dancing, old cars, and golfing, but most of all he enjoyed life.

He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Dale Heimberger.

Leon is survived by his wife, Mary; children, Darrel (Sunshine Wallace) Heimberger of Benton City, Washington, Debbie (Denny) Russell of Niles, Diane (Robert) Carey of Lincoln City, Oregon, Fran Cordell of Niles, and Gail Benitez of Port Ritchey, Florida; 11 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; brothers David Heimberger of North Chili, New York and Rollie (Gail) Heimberger of Ontario Center, New York; and countless extended family and friends.

A time of visitation will take place on Monday, June 3, 2019, at Brown Funeral Home in Niles from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.  Funeral services will follow on Tuesday at Brown Funeral Home at 11:00 a.m. with visitation one hour prior.  The family will also be having a time to celebrate Leon’s life after the service at the Eagles in Niles beginning at 5:00 p.m.

Those wishing to make a memorial donation in Leon’s name may do so to the Milton Adult Day Center or Center For Hospice Care both can be mailed to 501 Comfort Place, Mishawaka, Indiana 46545.

Leon lived his philosophy that there are no mistakes. Things that happen, no matter how unpleasant, are necessary in order to learn what we have to learn in this life.  Life is about choices and lessons which need to be learned. Everyone creates who they want to be.