February 12, 1912 ~ May 1, 2009
Roger Marcel Heitz, 85, a kind, compassionate, and loving husband, father, and grandfather, passed away peacefully on Friday, May 1, 2009, in Torrance. Roger was a man of grace in every sense and he placed his family first over all. Born, February 12, 1924, and raised in Strasbourg, France, he was one of eight children. Roger served in the French military, as a decorated officer, during World War II as part of the French underground and resistance. During his college years, Roger was a very successful rower, becoming French national champion in doubles and qualifying on several levels in crew at the European Championships. He achieved higher education by receiving a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France. He received a Fulbright scholarship at the University of Colorado, Boulder, which brought him to the United States in his mid 20's. It was in Boulder that Roger met his future adoring bride, Eli. Roger and Eli were married in 1953 in Oslo, Norway, and subsequently moved to southern California in 1956. He went on to work as a highly accomplished, senior scientist for Northrop Grumman for 36 years in aerospace. He holds 12 U.S. patents, including those for the development of the stealth coating for the B2 bomber. As a very active family man and patriarch, Roger was instrumental in his children's and grandchildren's athletic and scholastic success. He was fluent in five languages and passed on this gift to his progeny. Roger was a founding member of the FRAM soccer club playing out of Nansenfield in Rolling Hills Estates. He was an active player until age 68. Overall, Roger epitomized determination and perseverance with always modest undertones. As one said of Roger, "he was a truly great man, who remained humble and gentle despite his many great accomplishments."
Roger is survived by his wife, Eli Heitz, son, Daniel Heitz, and daughter, Melinda Jones. He was preceded in death by his mother, Suzanne Heitz, and his father, Victor Heitz. A graveside burial will be held at Green Hills Cemetery on Monday, May 11, 2009 at 2:00 PM. A memorial service will be held at Rolling Hills Methodist Church on Monday, May 11, 2009, at 5:00 PM with a reception to follow at the church.
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