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American Patriotic 11


Robert Heitstuman

January 25, 2018


Born June 3, 1937 and died Jan. 25, 2018 at the age of 80. He passed away at home
with his longtime companion, Judy Hafer, by his side.
Bob was born in Walla Walla, WA, to Victor and Frances (Fernandez) Heitstuman. He
was preceded in death by his wife, Sylvia (d. 1982) and his son, Jim (d. 1984) his
brother, Ted (d. 1988), and his grandson, Trustin (d. 2016). He is survived by his
children, Eileen (Thompson), Tom Heitstuman, Lisa (Hickerson), Mary (Briscoe), and
Bob Heitstuman, and their children and grandchildren.
In 1955, Bob joined the Marine Corps and served as a Radio Telegraph Operator. He
was honorably discharged at the rank of Sergeant in 1959 and served for another six
years in the Marine Corps Reserves. In 1956, he married Sylvia May Heitstuman (no,
really!) in Post Falls, Idaho, and their family grew quickly. Eileen (1957) and Tom (1958)
were born in North Carolina while Bob and Sylvia were stationed at Cherry Point Marine
Corp Air Station. Jim (1959), Lisa (1961), Mary (1962) and Bob (1966) were born after
Bob and Sylvia settled in Spokane, Washington. Bob worked as a Motorola salesman
and two-way radio technician in Pasco, Washington in the late 1960s. Eventually he
moved the family to La Grande in the early 1970s where he worked for the business
that was the forerunner of Racom Communications, and he continued to work for
Racom until he retired in 2002.
Bob was a proud long time member of the La Grande chapter of the BPOE and a
lifetime member of the NRA. He was one of the founding members of the Blue Mountain
Two Wheelers Motorcycle Club, and the Club’s first president. He was a member of the
Rotary Club and the La Grande Rifle and Pistol Club. He joined the McNary Yacht Club
in Umatilla, winning several regattas in his sailboat “Pia Pahu”. He was an avid scuba
diver and a member of an underwater Search and Rescue team out of the Tri-Cities,
Washington. An enthusiastic outdoorsman, he enjoyed his pursuits in eastern Oregon,
Washington, and Idaho, areas he thought of as home.
Bob travelled with his two oldest sons and wife, Sylvia, on a 3,000 mile motorcycle
round trip to the Baja Peninsula in early fall of 1975, and he took his entire family on a
week vacation boating in the San Juan Islands in 1976. When Bob’s son Tom, his wife
Debbie and their sons sailed from San Francisco to Japan in July 2003, he joined the
first leg of the journey to Honolulu. He later visited Japan in 2006. The annual salmon
fishing trips at the mouth of the Columbia River in August were the highlight of the
summer for his adult children and his grandchildren for several years.
For over 30 years, Bob joined his friends salmon fishing in the Pacific Ocean and the
Columbia River, hunting elk on horses in the Wallowa Mountains, hunting caribou in
British Columbia, hunting turkey in southern Oregon, hunting antelope in Wyoming, and
hunting moose in Alaska. He and his friends sailed on the Columbia River, rode
snowmobiles in the Blue Mountains, rafted whitewater in the Pacific Northwest, and
toured the Western states on his beloved “Gold Wing” motorcycle. In his later years, he
continued to hunt in the local wilderness areas with his friends and family, including his
faithful dog, Bud.
A Funeral Mass will be scheduled at St. Stanislaus Roman Catholic Church in
Rathdrum, Idaho in late June.
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