Charles Robert “Bob” Heckler, 83, passed away peacefully Tues, Jun 14. He was born in Upper Turkeyfoot, Somerset Co, PA, to Charles Edward Hechler and Mae Harriett McGuire on Mar 2, 1939. He is predeceased by his beloved wife of fifty-five years, Glenda Sue Warren, his parents, brothers Merle, Ray, and Oscar, and sister Thelma. His sister Pearl resides in Markleysburg, PA.
Suffering from chronic hay fever, fifteen-year-old Robert was forced off the family farm and chose to enter a carpentry apprenticeship with his elder brother, Merle’s, construction company in Jeffersonville, Indiana. There he met the love of his life, Sue, married and had two little girls. His work on residential and commercial building projects around Louisville, KY, led to a project on the first Montgomery Ward store in Twenty-Nine Palms, CA. They fell in love with the warm weather but not the desert winds blanketing the house with a layer of dust each morning!
In mid-1960, big developers’ advertising lured Bob and Sue to the Sunshine State! In March of ’65, they settled in Dunnellon. Bob was the foreman of the carpenter’s crew that built Units 1 & 2 at Florida Power Corporation in Crystal River, and he retired as the Weld Specialist in 2001 after more than thirty years. All the while employed full-time, Bob also found time after work and on weekends to renovate his own homes, the homes of others, and build new homes. He was once asked how many houses he had built by himself or with others. He could not count them. A talented craftsman, Bob built four beautiful custom homes for his family.
Bob was instrumental in chartering the first Jaycee’s Club in Dunnellon and served as president. His favorite projects were those centered around the town’s children, such as the annual Easter egg hunt, school playground improvements, and fund-raising events – he was happy to be the Dunk Tank target! During the 1967 town Christmas parade, he orchestrated Santa’s arrival by boat at Blue Cove Springs to the delight of all the children! As a kid at heart, he enjoyed time spent with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren in his later years.
Everyone who knew Bob liked him. His wife Sue frequently said, “Everybody loves Bob!” He indeed had the gift of gab and enjoyed discussing everything from current events and politics to science and space exploration. After all, as a child, little Robert wanted to be an astronaut!
Bob is survived by his daughters Tammy Lynne Hicks (Mike) of Citrus Springs, FL and Melanie Lea Heckler (Don Ahrens) of Citrus Hills, FL, grandchildren Charles Reed Counts (Katie) of Charleston, WV, Christopher Lee Counts of Red Oak, IA, Jessica Lynne Ray of Ocala, six great-grandchildren, numerous nieces and nephews, and many life-long and dear friends.
A Celebration of Life will be held Monday, June 20 at 11 AM (with visitation at 10 AM) at Roberts Funeral Home in Dunnellon, FL. It will continue in the fellowship hall at the Rainbow Springs Village Church, 20222 S.W. 102nd Street Road, Dunnellon. Interment will take place, Tuesday, June 21st at 10 AM at the Good Shepherd Memorial Gardens in Ocala, 5050 Southwest 20th Street.