Sunday, April 14, 2024

Floyd E. “Ed” Heppe, Jr. 72

| May 11, 2022 12:00 AM

Floyd Edward “Ed” Heppe Jr. passed peacefully in his sleep on April 30, 2022. Surrounded by loving family, he died at home in Superior, Montana at age 73 after a valiant battle with cancer attributed to Agent Orange exposure during his service in Vietnam. Ed’s beloved miniature poodle, Peanut, lay snuggled on his chest during the final hours.

Ed is survived by his Wife, Leslie, Daughters Jill (Guy) Betts of Superior, Lisa (Steve) Tartaglino of Somers, Candi (Ty) Fike of Missoula, Son Josh (Carmen) Fike of Belgrade, Granddaughters, Eddye K Betts of Superior, Koada Heacock of Missoula, Sawyer Heacock of Austin, Texas, and Dawson Chambers of Somers, Grandsons Quentin Betts of Superior, Kash Fike of Belgrade, Aiden and Vance Potter of Missoula, Sisters Connie (Ray) Bryant, Carmen (Dale) Lane of Polson and Camille (Kelly) Rogers of Great Falls along with many, many nieces and nephews.

Ed was born July 16, 1949 in Newport, Washington. When Ed was nine, the family moved to Superior. Ed graduated from Superior High School and began working at the Diamond Match Mill until he was called to serve his country in the U.S. Army in 1969.

Ed was very proud of his military service where he served with distinction rising swiftly to the rank of sergeant in less than a year- an unusually fast promotion. Never one to boast, his military record speaks for itself. During his service in Vietnam (1970-71), he received one of the nation’s highest medals for valor, the Bronze Star. He would also be awarded the Army Commendation Medal for heroism. There is credible evidence that Ed should have been awarded a Purple Heart Medal for wounds he received in a helicopter crash in which he was one of only two survivors. He would crawl through the jungle to get aid for his more seriously injured comrade. Ed declined the medal for reasons of personal integrity. Integrity was a key factor throughout his life.

When Ed was discharged from the Army in 1971, he returned to his old job at the mill. Knowing what a skilled and reliable worker he was, Diamond Match Company had saved his job. After changing hands, the mill closed in 1998. Ed retrained as a crane operator, but the job kept him away from family. He soon found the perfect career as custodian at Superior High School. More than a custodian, he was carpenter, mechanic, engineer, handyman and up for any challenge required. He was greatly loved and respected by staff and students alike. Ed would live to see some of the students become teachers in Superior.

There are many chapters in Ed Heppe’s amazing life. In 2005 he was initiated into Masonic Mountain Lodge 110. He was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason and served in every position within the lodge including the title, Worshipful Master, which means that he was in the leadership role as Master of the lodge.

Ed was a gentleman, a person who embodied the term, “Grace.” Above everything, he was kind beyond words. If anyone needed help, he would be there in a flash. Self effacing, he didn’t like to draw attention to himself. Honest, thoughtful, intelligent and sensitive- he had all of these qualities, but he was also strong and a natural leader. He will be remembered, too, as an animal lover and the best friend anyone could ever ask for.

Of Ed’s many accomplishments, he may be remembered most for his role in Superior’s VFW Post 6238, the Lloyd Ridings Post. His VFW comrades will agree that Ed was the glue that kept the post together. For 35 years he was Quartermaster, Secretary, and the man responsible for the armory of ancient 1903 Springfield rifles, uniforms and supplies. The community will remember him as the man who organized and led the Honor Guard in dozens of school patriotic programs, Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day ceremonies and military funerals. As President and Treasurer of Superior Cemetery, he was also key in establishing the Veteran’s Cemetery section including a new memorial stone recently installed.

Ed loved to hunt, fish, and repair old chain saws that no one else could fix. He loved to brag about his amazing wife, his children and grandchildren, but not about himself. He was also a natural storyteller. After standing at attention on a windy, cold winter’s day for a military funeral at the cemetery, VFW Honor Guard members would retreat to headquarters in Ed’s garage for coffee, or maybe a beer or soda from his well-stocked refrigerator. Ed would share stories about the deceased veterans and about growing up in Superior that would brighten the dreariest day.

Ed Heppe will be greatly missed by his family, his friends, his comrades in arms, and by the community. He dedicated much of his life to helping others, to sharing his joy of life, and to making Superior and Mineral County a better place to live. Military veterans like to have a mission- Ed certainly succeeded in his.

Services will be held at the Superior High School Gym on Saturday May 14, 2022 at 1pm, followed by food, drink and stories of Ed at the 4H building/fairgrounds. It will be potluck style for anyone who would like to bring a side or a dessert.