Dennis J. Heaney
John Heaney, 71, passed away unexpectedly Monday, April 27. Dennis was born in Fond du Lac, WI on October
21, 1948 to John and Anna (Garvey) Heaney.
Dennis was one of six children that grew up in Fond du Lac, where he
attended Saint Mary Springs High School.
After his high school graduation, he attended UW-Oshkosh and then
transferred to UW-Madison where he graduated with honors and earned his B.S in
Industrial Engineering. He then moved on
to earn his MBA in Operations Management at UW-Oshkosh, also graduating with
honors. While earning his degree in Madison, Dennis met the love of his life,
Debra Ann Hilton. Dennis and Debra said
their vows in marriage on February 27, 1971 at Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in
and Debra moved to several locations to follow Dennis’s career which included
living in Indiana, Virginia, and Ohio before eventually settling back in Fond
du Lac, where he worked for Wells MFG. In 1978, Dennis and Debbie moved their
family to Sheboygan Falls when Dennis accepted a position with the Vollrath
Company where his career flourished.
love for the golf course and his hometown brought them back to Fond du Lac in
1998 where he was able to have one of his favorite past times right in his
Irish heritage was something that he was immensely proud of and he always made
sure he celebrated. Dennis and Debbie would have large St. Patrick’s Day
parties where Debbie would cook for hundreds even though only 50 were invited and
Dennis would be found singing karaoke at the end of the night. The Heaney love
for the microphone is hereditary.
was a committed employee of The Vollrath Company in Sheboygan, WI. Dennis retired in July, 2018 after 40 years
with various management roles and eventually as the Senior Vice President of
Operations. During his tenure Dennis was
an intricate part of turning the company into the powerhouse it is today. From
re-engineering processes and procedures, to co-partnering the invention of the
Super-Pan in 1982. Dennis was held in the highest regards by his colleagues,
staff, vendors, and customers. Outside of his family and work life, Dennis
found time to volunteer as a sports coach for his children, spending 20 years
on the fields and in gyms.
humor was contagious, he could make a joke out of any situation. His quick wit continues
through his children and now grandchildren. He was extremely intelligent and
was always there to offer good advice. He was a hard worker whose mission was
to provide for his family.
and Debra shared a love for golf. If you could not find Dennis, you needed to
look on the golf course. He was proud of his golf cart equipped with a ball/club
washer, cover, cell phone holder, heater, rearview mirror, and GB Packer
always had a positive approach to everything in life and brought so much joy to
so many people. He loved his family and
friends. He enjoyed his short retirement
playing golf, spending time with his grandchildren, children, and his siblings,
sitting on his back-porch reading, and riding his lawnmower. He was looking forward to many years with his
family, including driving his wife in their classic Pontiac Lemans that they
had for over 50 years.
A quote from
Dennis to one of his children that really expresses who Dennis was as a husband
and father “working hard and taking on the biggest problems is what I enjoy
doing, in any organization there are only a few who you can always rely on and
I wanted to be one. This is what helped me move through the ranks at Vollrath.
My goal of moving through those ranks was to be a better provider for my
family. At times you guys may have been shortchanged because of the time it
took at work, but my goal was never compromised.” For anyone who knew Dennis
knew this is who he was. He was a kindhearted, hard-working, unselfish man who
is survived by his wife lovely wife, Debra of 49 years; his five children:
Kathleen Heaney, Colleen (John) Steinbruecker, Patrick (Tracy) Heaney, Maureen
Heaney, and Michael (Melissa) Heaney; seven grandsons, Dennis/Carson Stevenson,
Logan Steinbruecker, Patrick/Liam Heaney and Drake/Caden Heaney. Dennis is also
survived by his five siblings; Patrick (Barbara) Heaney of Dallas, TX, Mary
(Patrick) McCullough of Fond du Lac, Kevin (Brenda) Heaney of Wautoma, Sheila
Semenas of Oshkosh and Sean (Lori)
Heaney of Windermere, FL; his in-laws; Linda (Phil) Schumacher of Madison, and
Robert (Jodi) Hilton of Sheboygan Falls and numerous nieces, nephews, and
friends. Dennis was preceded in death by his parents (John and Lil), in laws
(Robert and Ann Hilton), numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
to the current circumstances a private family funeral was held at Holy Family Catholic
Church. Dennis was laid to rest in Calvary Cemetery. A celebration of life will
be held at a later date.
Dennis’s family would like to thank the paramedics and staff of St. Agnes Hospital
for doing everything they could to save the man we loved. They would also like
to thank their family and friends for all the love and support shown during
this most difficult time.
in Dennis’s memory can be made to St. Mary Springs Academy.
condolences may be shared at www.zacherlfuneralhome.com