Michael M. Heileman
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Michael M. Heileman
  • April 24, 1928 - January 4, 2018
  • Altamonte Spring, Florida

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Mike was born on April 24, 1928, and was the oldest son of Leo & Rose Heileman, Pioneers of the then Arizona territory. He had 3 brothers & 1 sister: Jack, David, George, & Mary. Mike has four children- Leo (Sherry), Michael (Donald), Diana and Irene, and 7 grandchildren. He loved traveling and learning about other cultures so he accepted a job with Exxon-Creole in Venezuela, a country that he grew to love and adopted as his own. Teresita would say, he is more Venezuelan than I am. While working in Josepin in Venezuela, he met Carmen Flores and they had a son Leo Heileman, named after Mike’s father, Leo. Before returning to the United States to study in 1958, Michael took Leo to Trinidad where he was raised by an older couple who loved and adored him and raised him as their own. This was a very difficult and painful decision for Mike but he did it out of love for Leo and the desire to give him the opportunities for a good education and to achieve his full potential. Leo has three children, Kieron, Khalil and Renate. Michael returned to Venezuela in 1958 where he met his wife Maria Teresa (Teresita) whom he married in 1959. He and Teresita have 3 children. Diana is the mother of two children, Isabella and Cris. & Irene has two children Jessica and Richard. Mike was a devoted husband and father, who loved his family above anything else. His eyes would light up and he would break into a smile when he saw his children and grandchildren, which made them feel very special. He instilled noble values in his children and ensured that they all had an excellent education. Just like Mike had., His children and grandchildren are also all kind, decent and upstanding human beings, and represent one of his greatest legacies. During their nearly 60 years of marriage, he was a devoted, faithful and loving husband, and Teresita in turn loved Mike deeply. His quiet, solid and strong character complemented Teresita’s very social, outgoing and bubbly personality. In Teresita’s own words, he was wonderful, marvelous, generous, attentive, and indulgent husband. As a son he was very attentive to and concerned about his widowed mother-visiting at least once a year, and ensuring that she was comfortable and well taken care of. Mike was transparent and very honest. He was a faithful, generous and dependable friend who was always there to lend support when needed. He was a member of the Rotary Club in Venezuela, and was the Rotary Club-vice president at one time. Through the Rotary Club, he participated in a number of charitable activities, e.g. supporting programmes for women with cancer and homeless and poor children. He received an award from the Rotary Club in recognition of his contribution to the community. He was the only American who remained at Lagoven Oil Company in Venezuela to help with training and capacity building for young engineers when Creole was nationalized. In his free time, He also gave free English classes at night to high school students in, for which he was given an award from the students and their parents. His academic and professional achievements are very impressive. He graduated from the University of Arizona with an electrical & mechanical engineering degree in 1954. His career allowed him to work in the Philippines, Japan, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela and the United States of America. Among his many accomplishments are helping to design the B-52 test bed aircraft while working for Boeing. After a stint in the military in Japan & the Philippines as part of McArthurs occupation force, he returned to attend the University of Arizona on the g.i. bill and built along with another student, the first television at the University. His engineering skills were evident from a very early age. As a young boy in high school, Mike single handedly designed the floor plan of his parents’ home. Mike enjoyed fishing, travelling & entertaining with his wife. He retired in Central Florida, and spent his sunset years enjoying visits by family & friends and going on cruises and trips. In these his final days of his life, Mike brought all his four children together for the first time, and he held on much longer than expected, as if he didn’t want to leave behind this beautiful and joyous reunion celebrating his life and legacy.