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Obituary: Frank J. Heidenrich, 95

Apr 11, 2016 10:46AM ● By Bill Gilman

Frank J. Heidenrich

 TEWKSBURY: Frank J. Heidenrich, age 95, a second-generation farmer and dairyman, lifelong resident of Tewksbury and communicant of St. William’s Parish, passed away at the Blaire House of Tewksbury on Friday, April 8, 2016.

He was the beloved husband of Margaret “Pegge” (Downey) Heidenrich, who passed away on July 22, 2013.

Frank was born in the Heidenrich Dairy farmhouse on North Billerica Road on May 24, 1920, son of the late Karl and Ottillie (Zaijicek) Heidenrich. He attended Tewksbury schools and graduated from Tewksbury High School in 1938.

In 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force, and served in World War II with the 425th Army Air Force Base Unit in England as a transmitter repairman and flying in the B-17 bombers as a radio operator – waist gunner in missions over Germany. Frank was awarded several decorations for his active duty service including the Distinguished Unit Badge, the Good Conduct medal, the World War II Victory Medal, and the American Campaign Medal.

Following his military service, Frank returned to Tewksbury to assist his family in operating the Heidenrich Dairy Farm, married the love of his life, the beautiful Pegge Downey of Natick, raised four children and operated the dairy farm until the milk business was sold in the early 1960’s. After that, he worked at Raytheon Company in Andover and Bedford until his retirement in 1990.

During his retirement, Frank began to propagate trees, especially his favorite trees, pussy willows. For many years in March and April, Frank could be seen outside his house cutting and selling bunches of pussy willows, becoming known as the “Pussy Willow man” to his many customers and neighbors. Frank was a caring and loving father, grandfather, brother, uncle, friend and neighbor. He and his wife Pegge enjoyed many vacations including Prince Edward Island, California, and Florida, plays at the North Shore Music Theater, and dinners with their close and dear friends for many years Marge and Don Rauseo of Tewksbury. Frank and Pegge were great dancers, and he loved singing, speaking German, telling stories and jokes (over and over again) and summers at Hampton Beach with his family. Frank remained in his home in the latter part of his wonderful life in the hands of his loving care providers Donna Vermette, Maureen Bartel, Kevin Rose, Jane Carroll and Jenny Grant. At the Blaire House he was comforted by the many kind care givers.

Frank was a longtime member of the Tewksbury Historical Society and the Fr. Francis Coppens Council # 4336 Knights of Columbus.

He is survived and will be deeply missed by his son, John Heidenrich and his wife Carol (Sabato) of Chelmsford; two daughters, Karen (Heidenrich) Dawson and her husband Jim of Southlake, TX and Ann (Heidenrich) Rossino and her husband Sam of Plymouth; six grandchildren, Justin Kelly, Jessica Kelly-Heidenrich, John Heidenrich Jr. and Evan Heidenrich, Greg and Katy Rossino; a sister-in-law Carol Downey of Natick. He also leaves many nieces, nephews, and extended family members.

Frank was predeceased by his son Frank J. Heidenrich, Jr., his sisters Tillie Powers, Sophie Hoare, Helen Heidenreich, Elsie Heidenreich and his beloved brother, Karl Jr.

Calling hours are Wednesday, April 13, from 4-7 p.m. at the Farmer & Dee Funeral Home, 16 Lee St., Tewksbury. His funeral will be held Thursday, April 14, at 10:30 a.m. from the funeral home, followed by his Funeral Mass at 11:30 a.m. at St. William’s Church, 1351 Main St., Rte. 38, Tewksbury. Interment at Tewksbury Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations in Frank’s memory may be made to the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial V.A. Hospital, 200 Springs Road, Bedford, MA 01730.

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