MADISON - Walter Heilman, 83, passed on to Heaven on Saturday, December 1, 2012 with his loving family at his side. Born in Madison on December 30, 1928, Wally "lived life to the fullest" and was a beacon of positive attitude and joy to all he encountered. His faith and his family were his guiding lights and he professed this openly and passionately every day. After a stellar athletic career at Edgewood High School that included All-City honors in both football and basketball, Wally married June Murray on April 18, 1953. Their loving marriage was blessed with 7 children and grew to include 12 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren who loved him dearly. Wally and June were Charter members of St. Maria Goretti Parish and volunteered tirelessly for the church and school. Wally founded the school Athletic Association and coached with passion for many years. Wally's career began at Oscar Mayer where, as Sales and Merchandising Manager, he was instrumental in significant packaging and case merchandising design changes that helped to elevate the lunch-meat category nationally. He took that creativity to his own businesses as owner of Merchandising Unlimited and National Marketing. Wally employed many area high school students and provided a "fun to work" environment at all times. Whether it was playing Santa Claus, wrestling with little ones, building a fort or raking the beach, Dad did everything with a song and an attitude that was infectious. His passion for life and loved ones will never be forgotten and will always be emulated.
Wally is survived by his sisters, Joanne (Charles) Merkel and Dorothy (Bill) Parsons; children, Don (Sue) Heilman, Judy (Joe) Balistreri, Fr. Richard Heilman, Mary Joan (Joe) Vitale, Tom (Shelley) Heilman, Patti (Ken) Brown; grandchildren, Matt (Katie) Heilman, Jenny Heilman-Condon, Kristen (Justin) Block, Mike (Brennan) Balistreri, Vince (Maggie) Balistreri, Mario Balistreri (fiancé Becky Haker), Jon Vitale, Michelle (Pete) Stafford, Jill Heilman, Melissa Heilman, CJ Brown, Megan Brown; and great-grandchildren, Jack, Rylie, Eli, Jaden, Reece, Nina and Mona. He is preceded in death by his loving wife, June; his son, Joey; as well as his brothers, Dave and George.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at ST. MARIA GORETTI CATHOLIC CHURCH, 5313 Flad Avenue, Madison, at 11:00a.m. on Wednesday December 5, 2012, with Father Richard Heilman presiding. Visitation will be at JOYCE-RYAN FUNERAL HOME, 5701 Odana Road, Madison, from 4:00PM - 7:00PM on Tuesday, December 4, 2012, and also at the church from 10:00AM until time of Mass on Wednesday. Burial will be at Resurrection Catholic Cemetery.
Dad says thanks to the "Angels" at St. Mary's Care Center for their loving care.