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home : columnists : betsy reason June 23, 2017


5/18/2017 4:00:00 AM
Remembering Irving Heath this Saturday
Photo providedLongtime Noblesville resident Irving Heath will be remembered during a memorial service at 11 a.m. Saturday at Noblesville First United Methodist Church, where he was a member for more than 60 years.
Photo provided

Longtime Noblesville resident Irving Heath will be remembered during a memorial service at 11 a.m. Saturday at Noblesville First United Methodist Church, where he was a member for more than 60 years.

By Betsy Reason
Editor


Marilyn Heath is hoping that her father's friends and Noblesville "family" will come out this Saturday to celebrate the life of Irving Maxwell Heath.

Her father, a former longtime Noblesville resident, moved here in 1946 and joined the Noblesville First United Methodist Church. He was a founder of the Boys and Girls Club of Noblesville and Cancer Services of Hamilton County and was a Sagamore of the Wabash recipient. He died on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016, in Fairfax, Va., where he had moved in 2014 to be closer to family. He was 98.

Irving Heath's memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Noblesville First United Methodist Church.

"We want a lot of people to stop by and visit with the family and share memories," said Marilyn Heath of Winchester, Va. "We want it to be truly a party in honor of my dad."

The service will feature hymns that Irving Heath selected and bagpiper music played by his grandson, Bryce Heath Johnson, Marilyn Heath's son who has played bagpipes since first grade.

The service will share stories of faith, freedom and family, "what really drove my dad," Marilyn Heath said.

Doug Church of Noblesville Adult Swim Team Inc., of which Heath was a member for 20 years, will talk about Irving as a community activist.

Marilyn Heath's husband, Peter Johnson, will read letters about her dad's patriotism and civic dedication. One letter is from retired 100-year-old Brig. Gen. Alvin F. Irzyk, who fought in World War II in the 8th Tank Battalion adjacent to Irving Heath, and they had been friends ever since. "The letter is a keeper for generations, talking of Dad as a hero and a true member of the greatest generation. It brought tears to my eyes," Marilyn Heath said. Her dad was a first lieutenant in the Army, 4th Armored Division, 35th Battalion under Gen. Omar Bradley and Gen. George S. Patton.

Letters will also be read from Sen. Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville), Becky Terry and Bryan Mills of the Boys & Girls Club, Vernon Young of the Historical Society, and U.S. Air Force Maj. Julius Lees.

Marilyn Heath and her brother, Al Heath, of Bath, Maine, will share family stories about their father.

Pastor Jerry Rairdon and associate pastor Dick Judson, who knew Irving for many years, will speak. Twins Lynn Sylvester and Beth Lively, whom the Heaths have known since their birth, will perform a duet. The church choir will sing.

A reception will follow the service at the church's Celebration Hall, where family will meet and greet Irving Heath's friends and Noblesville "family." Marilyn Heath has arranged for food, memorabilia, a video and space to visit in the church's Celebration Hall.

"We hope many people will come down after the service to say 'hello' to family members." She hopes that even people she's never met will introduce themselves, and visit and "remember Dad."

Irving Heath, born Oct. 15, 1918, in Somerville, Mass., grew up in Worcester, Mass., and graduated from DePauw University in Greencastle, where he met Rachel Waltz of Arcadia. They were married Sept. 5, 1942, during his four-day leave from the U.S. Army.

They lived in the same house at 1811 Conner St., for more than 60 years. They had three children, including Marilyn Heath, Ann Heath Gray, who died in 2013, and Ralph "Al" Heath, plus six grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. Rachel, a retired school teacher, died in 2010, after 68 years of marriage.

Irving Heath loved Noblesville and being involved in the community. Even after he turned 80, Irving was involved in more community activities than the average citizen.

When he retired in 1981 from 32 years in the insurance business, he celebrated by getting his real-estate license and worked as a Realtor for another 12 years, retiring again in 1995.

Even after that, he kept his office in downtown Noblesville, where he saved personal community relics, which he talked about in a Daily Ledger newspaper article that I found from the year 2000, the same year that he was grand marshal of the Noblesville Fourth of July parade.

His office on South Ninth Street he called the "memorabilia room." A bookshelf had 30 three-ring binders of U.S. Commemorative stamps he collected, and scrapbooks filed with photos of him during the war. A wall map marked the route his 4th Armored Division traveled in the war. He had a collection of Cresson & Heath insurance calendars that he sent his clients dating back to the 1940s, and an elephant collection to celebrate being a member of the Republican Party of which he was precinct chairman for 18 years. He had two filing cabinets jam packed with items he'd saved from the nonprofits that he was involved, including Noblesville Lions Club, American Legion Post 45, Cancer Service of Hamilton County of which he helped start in 1986, Boys & Girls of Noblesville, of which he was a founder in 1950, the Masonic Temple and Hamilton County Historical Society. A Belfry Theatre season ticket holder, he also saved every program since the theater started in 1965.

Burial of Irving Heath's ashes in Crownland Cemetery, across the street from the church, will be later in the afternoon, at 3 p.m., for family and friends. Condolences may be sent to his daughter, Marilyn Heath, 221 Roszel Road, Winchester, VA 22601.

-Contact me at betsy@thetimes24-7.com.





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