Dennis John Heilman

dennis heilman
Dennis John Heilman passed away peacefully after a long illness on Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at his home in Torrance, Ca., surrounded by his loving wife and daughters, at the age of 67. Dennis was born November 6, 1943 and raised in North Dakota. He lived briefly in Iowa and Colorado before moving to California in 1962 where he met and married his wife, Margaret, and raised two daughters. Dennis was a proud veteran, having served in the Army during the Vietnam War and supported veteran's causes. Dennis was self-employed at Gardena Muffler Service for 30 years before retiring in 1997. He loved spending time with his family and friends, camping when the children were young and cruising around the world with them when they became adults. He always looked forward to the many cross country driving trips to visit family and friends in Iowa and Minnesota. Dennis was an avid horse racing fan and studied them diligently. He had been a long time member of the Elks and American Legion. He was not afraid to try new things and everything was a learning experience. Dennis is survived by his devoted wife of 48 years, Margaret Heilman; daughters Deeann Heilman of Torrance and Amy Heilman of Torrance. He is also survived by three brothers, Andy Heilman, Larry (Sue) Heilman and Leo (Karlene) Heilman; two sisters, Shirley Bahr and Kathy (Jim) Adkins and many beloved nieces, nephews, cousins, and other loving relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Conrad Heilman and Barbara Parish and infant twin sisters, Karen and Sharon. Dennis touched the lives of all he met through his kindness, helping hands and generosity. He was greatly loved and will be deeply missed. The Memorial Service will be held at Rice Mortuary in Torrance on Saturday August 20, 2011 at 2pm. A reception will follow in the Rice Lighthouse Reception Room until 5pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Home on the Range of North Dakota ( or Disabled American Veterans (

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Memories Timeline


  1. Dennis loved me like his own and I loved him like a Father. I consider my self among the blessed to have had a small portion of his time in this life. I have been changed for the better having known and loved him!

  2. This has definitely been a difficult time for me, not having him here makes me feel like I lost my other grandpa. He was the one that taught me how to ride a bike, and once I learned how, I hit him with the bike and we both fell on the ground, and we just laughed it off. He was the best guy to go to if you had a problem or just wanted a good laugh. I’m so happy he was in my life, and I know he is now at peace.

  3. Offering our heartfelt sympathy, love, and support for the loss of your husband, father, and our dear friend. We have such wonderful memories of Dennis, enjoying our weekend trips, cruises around the world, and great mechanic advice. He was a gentle soul and we will truly miss him. We have yet, another Angel in Heaven to watch over us.

  4. A flower may die The sun may set But a friend like you I will never forget Your name is precious It will never grow old Its engraved in my heart In the letters of gold R.I.P. Daddy I love you and I miss you!

  5. I will always remember Dennis’ shy smile and quietness. He was always friendly toward me even though he only knew me through my cousin who was his close friend. He is greatly missed. I send my love to Margaret and his daughters.

  6. I wish that I had more time with my brother. Life is just to short. Grab the opportunity to spend as much time as you can with your loved ones. One of my memories of Dennis:when Dennis was a rollie poly 6month old Grandpa Heil called him his little Rollie and would love holding Dennis ,would say “I if I put you down and gave you alittle push you would go rolling all the way into town.” hard to believe that Dennis at that time was so big that Mom could not find shoes to fit him because his feet were so round there was no division between his ankles and his legs. Dennis could win your heart in an instant just by smiling. I miss you Dennis. Hugs and kisses.Say hi to Mom, Grandma and Grandpa.

  7. I will always remember Dennis with a wonderful smile on his face! He was a joy to have known. He was always there for my sister and her daughters, which made him such a blessing! I feel privileged to have known him. My thoughts and prayers are with all who knew and loved him.

  8. Amy and family, I am so sorry about your loss. I hope that you will find comfort in knowing that he has found peace and will be with God. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I hope the many memories made over the years will bring a smile to your face, joy to your heart and peace for your future as you think back about his life. Keep his spirit close to your heart to help you through this time.

  9. It was truly an honor to know this man. His mechanical advice was always spot on, and appreciated. But mostly I appreciated how thoughtful he was to my 2 daughters. Thank you Dennis for being a part of our lives….

  10. Dear Heilman family, I want to wish you my deepest condolences on the loss of your beloved husband and father. My thoughts are with you in this time of grief. I hope that your wonderful memories of Dennis fill your hearts and keep him alive in each of you forever. I know that he was a proud husband and father and you all are honoring him with amazing heartfelt grace and dignity. My love to you all. Love, Cindy Stogel

  11. I will miss Dennis AKA Dad very much but I will never forget all the great memories from all the cruises, parties, gatherings and dinners. I will continue to cherish every occasion that I am able to share with Margaret, Deeann and Amy so that when we all get to heaven we can have a good laugh with Dennis. May God comfort and bless your family during this time. Love, Phillip


  13. Margaret DeeAnn and Amy, & to my Aunts and Uncles– I am so sorry for the loss of your wonderful loving husband, Daddy & brother. My thoughts prays and love are with you all and wishing I could be there with you. He was a wonderful man and great Uncle that makes anyone and everyone who met him feel special. On his and Margaret’s visits to Sioux City ALMOST yearly even for his last visit last March 2010 the world lite up just to be in the same room with him. I love you all very much and just know we are here for you all. May Faith, Hope and Love help you get thru this very difficult time. Hugs and Kisses to all. Love Debbie, Gene, Lisa, Kevin and baby Colton.

  14. May God be with you all in your time of need. Your family is a true testament to good family values. Love and Hugs from your friend, Rick

  15. I remember camping trips to lakes in southern Ca & fishing with my uncle Dennis. We had many family gatherijngs in Torrance Ca that were good times. When my boys were little uncle Dennis did some great Donald Duck impersonations. I remember trips to Vegas & lots of good times watching boxing with Dennis. I will miss him.

  16. I remember camping trips to lakes in southern Ca & fishing with my uncle Dennis. We had many family gatherijngs in Torrance Ca that were good times. When my boys were little uncle Dennis did some great Donald Duck impersonations. I remember trips to Vegas & lots of good times watching boxing with Dennis. I will miss him.

  17. I remember camping trips to lakes in southern Ca & fishing with my uncle Dennis. We had many family gatherings in Torrance Ca that were good times. When my boys were little uncle Dennis did some great Donald Duck impersonations. I remember trips to Vegas & lots of good times watching boxing with Dennis. I will miss him. To my aunt Margaret & cousins Deeann & Amy, I am sorry for your loss of Dennis. Love you all, Rob, Jeremy & Ryan Iverson

  18. Our love and prayers are with you all. What a special Uncle Dennis was. He always greeted me at the door whereever I would see him with the most awesome love and hugs a long lost niece could ever ask for. Dennis shared his beautiful love with his family and it shows. Margaret and his girls share the same compassion that I experienced with him. I beleive my Uncle is helping all of my patients that are scared to enter the doors of heaven with those awesome hugs and smiles that I so loved. Thanks Uncle Dennis for being you! We love you all!!

  19. when i was about 11 years old dennis got out of boys town and came to sioux city to live with us again. mom and dad got dennis a job at the packing house but not for long, he knew thats not what he wanted to do ,like mom and dad had done for he gathered what little he had and left to find a better life,i cried when he left that day i couldnt understand why he was leaving again. but after sometime had past i saw why and admired him for his courage and the succes dennis and family have are with mom and dad now but til i see you again you will always be in my heart. love leo and karlene

  20. To the very loving family of the Heilman’s….my dear best friend, Amy and sweet mother Margaret and sister Deeann. I have known Dennis for over 30 years and remember him as a solid father. A father who worked really hard at his own Muffler business to raise his family well. A father who was always there for his family, planning trips and going on many vacations to bring the family together, which some I was blessed to be able to join in. A humble father who did not say much but when he did, people listened. A soft spoken man just full of love for his family. The Heilman family always showed me love and true family values when I was growing up. Still today, they are a true testiment of what a real dedicated family full of love is all about. Dennis knows without a doubt how much he is and was loved from you all. Please let me know if I can do anything to help out. My very deepest thoughts and prayers are with you all, the Heilman family. You are a model of what families are all about. May Dennis rest in peace.

  21. Leo and Larry. Very sorry for your loss. I met Dennis 3 or 4 times and the thing that stuck out with me was how close you two brothers were to him. I really enjoyed his horseracing stories.

  22. Margaret, Deeann and Amy, my deepest heartfelt condolences go out to you during this difficult time. My fondest memories of Dennis will always be the trips we took together and gatherings we had throughout the years; definitely great times and funny moments. I will miss Dennis’ presence, but please believe that he will always be with us in spirit and memory.

  23. DENNIS was a great brother,didnt get to spend much time with him when i was growing.But Dennis and Margret and girls came back to see us when they could. I love you Dennis,You will be in our hearts forever.

  24. We have had many good times all these years. Your family has always been there for me during the good times and bad. I am so glad I came to CA for your anniversary and the SD gambling trip. Wish it could have been more. Miles apart are hard. My thoughts and prayers are with the family. Love you always. Jackie

  25. Margaret,Deeann & Amy Our thoughts are with you at this difficult time. We send our condolenses.We wish that we were able to be there with you at this time. We will always have great memories of the visits back in Minnesota. He was a quite man with a huge heart. Dennis, Roxanne and family

  26. Dearest Margaret, Deeann & Amy, With all my love and prayers for you during this difficult time and my deepest condolences on the passing of Dennis. Dennis will never be forgotten as wonderful memories of him are forever engraved in our hearts as his friend and I know his love for you will always be and remain a forever living and lasting presence in your lives.

  27. when my brother left father “cassidys home on the range for boys he said”he learned alot about life. when my brother moved to california he said it was the best thing he ever did” when he married his true love [margret] and had two beautiful girls amy and deeane he told me he was the happiest man in the word. will always remember you, say hi to mom

  28. Dear Margaret, Deeann & Amy, Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. I will remember the great times we all have had over the years cruising with Dennis. The pride he showed for his beautiful girls with those striking baby blue eyes. You could tell that he enjoyed every cruise he went on, and I am sure he loved being a part of the fun with all the groups of friends and family. You could absolutely tell how much he loved you all. Margaret, I will especially remember the cruise where you and Dennis renewed your wedding vows in a ceremony performed by the captain. It was such a moving and beautiful expression of your love for each other. I am thankful to have been included in that special occasion on the high seas! Margaret, Deeann and Amy, just know that I love you and even though I am far away, I am close to you in my heart. God bless you during this time and always.

  29. My Dearest Friends, Margaret, Amy, and Deeann. Words cannot explain how I feel. Just think, God has a garden, and Dennis John Heilman is a rose, now a part of that garden. We all knew that Dennis loved his three LADIES. I appreciate the love he gave to all his friends and family. Especially, the love he gave to all that travelled around the world on those beautiful vacations. I know I have missed a few of the vacations, but the love was always there. Margaret, Amy, and Deeann, my prayers are with you and will always be with you. My condolences to you and his family. I know he will be missed. God Bless you all. And to Mr. Heilman, please say hello to My Daddy.

  30. I remember when my little brother Dennis was a rolly, poley baby and Grandpa Heil would pick him up and balance him on his hand. I still don’t understand how Dennis could have so much balance with all that weight. I am proud of how smart and successful Dennis was in business and life. I enjoyed playing the ponies with him, always betting his tips. He was a great brother. I miss him and wish he was still here. See you soon Dennis…

  31. Your family is always in my prayers. God bless you all always. I thank GOD for having the privilege to know your great and kind Family. You will be missed my dear friend.God needs you now. Eternal Friend, Jesse Jr

  32. Margaret, Deeann and Amy our deepest sympathy. It was a pleasure meeting Dennis. We wished we still had more time to enjoy his presence but he’s in Heaven and God is enjoying his presence now. Love your friends,

  33. Dear Margaret, Amy, and Deeann, Roses are red, violets are blue, and I miss someone and so do you? Uncle Dennis, We all miss him I know but he’ll always be right there by are sides! I’ll never forget the time where everyone got together and Uncle Dennis pretended to be Donald Duck! Right now I can’t imagine how your feeling but I know you’ll heel. Love you all with all my heart.

  34. Our prayers are with you Margret, Deanna, and Amy. You guys are some of the most blessed people in the world by being so loved and surrounded by a very very special man. Thank you for sharing all of your love and kindness with us all, Your smiles speak loudly and so did Uncle Dennis’s. Wishing I could have been there with all of you to say goodbye to such an awesome Uncle. May all your memories keep the music within each one of you alive and beautiful as you were when he was with us.. Love ya all bunches

  35. I’m so sorry to hear of your Dear Father’s passing. I’m glad you were all able to share his last days together as a family and you can cherish it always. Be strong for your Mom now and feel happy that he really is in a better place and resting. I’m so glad I was able to meet your Mom and Dad and celebrate their anniversary with you all. I have great picutures and the fondest memories of him and your Mom. Thank You and God Bless you. We Love You, Dina, Johnny and Berlyn

  36. Deeann, I am so sorry to hear this, I thought of you and your family often while I was away. It does sound as though your father went in great peace and that is most important, I know there is nothing anyone can say or do to comfort you at this time other than just to say I am here for you Deeann if ever there is anything I could do or say , well you know I am here. My thoughts heart and prayers go to you and your family.

  37. Dee Dee……I’m so sorry for your loss. I know how close you & your family are & that you must be hurting right now. Your dad is a good man…..its hard to believe all of this has happened. I have kept you & your family in my prayers & will continue to. Even though we haven’t seen each other or talked in years, please know that I love u & your family very much. You ALL were very good to me & hold a very special place in my heart. Having another guardian angel in heaven is a comfort but sometimes we still want them here with us to hug, talk to, love, laugh, cry with, & just be with. Things get better, in time. Hang on to all the good memories…they help to get you through the tough days. I talk to my grandpa & KNOW he’s in heaven, watching over me everyday- as your father is now, watching over you, Margie, & Amy. Going through what you’re going through is probably the hardest thing you will ever go through, but your faith, family, & friends will help you through this. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or reach out. I’m so sorry Dee Dee…..wish I lived closer so I could give you a hug. I’m thinking of you & will definitely ask God to wrap you in his loving comfort through this. Please send your Mom & Amy my love. Love Always, Tia

  38. Your dad will always have a special place in my heart and I will always hold him dear in my memories. My prayers are with all of you. Prayers of strength and courage for you, Margaret and Amy. All my love, Deanne

  39. We will miss our good friend, Dennis, but know his suffering and pain is gone.The great memories of times shared over so many years will not be forgotten.We will recall his gentleness, his smile and sometimes tearful laughter, especially when Duane was involved. We extend our sympathy to Margaret,DeAnn and Amy, who took such good care of our friend, their husband/father, always and made the end of life as comfortable as they could for Dennis. All our love.

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