Obituary of Frederick C. Heitzenroder
The Reverend Frederick C. Heitzenroder, of Oldsmar, Florida, passed away on January 9, 2024, surrounded by his loving wife and son. His weakened immune system left him susceptible to Covid, which ultimately claimed his life.
Fred was born on July 19, 1947, in Pittsburgh, PA. He graduated from North Hills High School in 1966. Fred received a B.A. from Thiel College in Greenville, PA in 1970. He attended Philadelphia Theological Seminary and earned his Masters of Divinity degree in 1974. He served as Associate Pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Philadelphia, PA from 1974-1977. He was a Pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Fairmont, WV from 1977-1990. His last call was to Salem Lutheran Church of Delmont, PA from 1990 until he retired in 2011. His retirement celebration was attended by so many people that the event had to be moved from the church to the Fire Hall to accommodate the crowd.
Fred served many organizations in the community, including chaplain for the Fire and Police Departments of Delmont, PA. After Frederick retired, he was selected to be a Pennsylvania State Police Chaplain, a highly vetted position. He was stationed at the New Stanton, PA police barracks on the PA turnpike. He visited the troopers on Tuesdays, which they referred to as “New Testament Tuesday.”
Fred was an “old-timey” Pastor who was well loved and warmly welcomed into many families of the churches he served.He frequently visited people in their homes, hospitals, and any other location requested(or not). Fred was a witty jokester and often the “life of the party.” He was down-to-earth, occasionally ornery, and a loving friend and mentor.
Fred was a true car guy and collector of old Cadillacs. He was a member of the National Cadillac/LaSalle Club and the Oldsmobile Club of Florida. He loved attending classic car shows and participated in various parades, including “Delmont Days” in PA where he dressed up as Elvis and escorted members of the youth group in his ’67 Red convertible. The vehicle was later featured in two episodes called “Big Red Caddy” on the Discovery channel program “Gas Monkey Garage”. He also paraded his ’87 Oldsmobile Toronado duriing “Oldsmar Days” in Florida. In addition to marrying couples, he sometimes provided transportation to the reception in his sleek, black ’55 Cadillac Sedan or the “car de jour”.
Fred was preceded in death by his parents, Frederick A. and Mildred L. Heitzenroder of North Hills,PA, as well as his beloved sister Elizabeth Ann Buchholz of Plano, TX.
He is survived by his soulmate, Dr. Wendy Gustavson Heitzenroder of Oldsmar, FL; son Matthew F. Heitzenroder (Megan A. Barnes) of Bellingham, WA, granddaughters Ruby and Betty, as well as twin great granddaughters Jade and Italy. Fred is also survived by his brothers David (Barbara, deceased) Heitzenroder of Atlanta, GA, Gary F. (Suzi) Heitzenroder of Pittsburgh, PA, and Mark K. Heitzenroder of Wexford, PA; many nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews, cousins, as well as countless friends whom Fred held close to his heart. Fred cherished his aide Patricia and handyman Earl and his family.
A Celebration of Fred’s Life will be held on January 25, 2024, at 4:00 p.m. at the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, 1555 Windmille Pointe Road, Palm Harbor, FL. A future service will be held on April 27, 2024 at his former parish, Salem Lutheran Church in Delmont, PA.
Masks are strongly requested and will be provided by the family for the service in the sanctuary. The service will be live streamed on the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection FaceBook page https://www.facebook.com/mylcr.org and recorded for individuals who do not wish to wear a mask. You can also view a live stream on YouTube by using the link on the left side of the page.You can order free covid tests at https://www.covid.gov/tools-and-resources/ resources/tests or call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489).
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Thiel College in Greenville, PA
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Throughout his life Fred remained devoted to Thiel. It was there Fred met the love of his life, Wendy whom he married in 1970. In addition, he was president of his senior class. Fred served on the board of directors during the years after he graduated from Thiel. In 2021, the college honored Fred when they named the President’s home “Heitzenroder House” in memory of Fred’s late father, Frederick A. Heitzenroder. Any donation in Fred’s honor would have meant a great deal to him, as well as Wendy.