ORRVILLE — Gary Heasley, age 83, of Orrville, formerly of Jeannette, PA, died Wednesday, July 22, 2020, at Brookdale Senior Living in Wooster, following a period of declining health.
Gary was born on February 13, 1937, in Jeannette, Pennsylvania, to the late Jacob Heasley and Emma (Comeau) Opitek. He graduated from Jeannette (PA) High School in 1955 and attended California University of Pennsylvania after serving in the US Air Force. He married Lorraine DePonte on August 19, 1972 in Stone Harbor, NJ.
He worked as an industrial arts teacher and cooperative education coordinator for Norwin School District in North Huntington, PA for 30 years, retiring in 1996. While employed as a teacher, Gary served as score keeper for the basketball team and advisor to several clubs and organizations such as the AV crew/stage crew and photography club. Gary’s passion for education and “his kids” was evident in the number of lives he touched in his 30 year teaching career. He received the Who’s Who of American Cooperative Education Teacher award in 1980, and the Norwin Junior High West Teacher of the year in 1991.
In his spare time, Gary spent many years enjoying his 1931 Model A Tudor Deluxe Sedan and attending car shows with other like-minded car friends. Gary was an avid woodworker and enjoyed spending a large part of his “golden years” sharing the summer home he and his wife built in Conneaut Lake, PA with their family and friends.
Gary was an active member of Harold Zion Lutheran Church in Greensburg, PA prior to his relocation to Orrville, OH to be near his daughter and her family. Most recently, Gary attended Smithville Mennonite Church. The last four years, Gary has been lovingly cared for by staff at both Brookdale Wooster Clare Bridge Unit and Brookdale Montrose Crossings Unit as his Alzheimer’s progressed.
Surviving are his wife Lorraine (DePonte); daughter, Erin (Russ) Leonardi of Smithville; and grandson, Samuel Leonardi of Smithville.
In addition to his mother and father, he was preceded in death by step-father, John Opitek; and brother, Gordon Heasley.
Visitation will be held from 10:00 am to 11:00 am on August 8, 2020, with a Memorial Service immediately following at 11:00 am at Smithville Mennonite Church, 6097 Akron Road, Smithville, with Pastor Todd Martin officiating. The family requests that social distancing occur and that masks be worn through the entire service. The service will also be live-streamed on Smithville Mennonite Church’s YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/
In lieu of flowers, the family invites any monetary contributions to be made to a memorial fund established in his memory, c/o Smithville Mennonite Church, 6097 Akron Road, Smithville, OH 44677. The fund will be used to support youth ministries and outreach.
Auble Funeral Home in Orrville is assisting the family. Online registry and expressions of condolence may be made at the funeral home’s web site at www.aublefuneralhome.com.