Josephine Heying

Monday, October 3, 2016 5:15 pm

Josephine Heying, 100, of West Union, died Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, at her home. Mass of Christian Burial was at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, at Holy Name Catholic Church, West Union, with Rev. James Brokman as the celebrant. Burial followed at Mt. Calvary Cemetery, West Union. Visitation was Friday, Sept. 30, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Burnham-Wood-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service, West Union, with a 4 p.m. rosary and a 7 p.m. scripture service.

Burnham-Wood-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service, West Union, Iowa is helping the family with the arrangements. Memorials may be directed to the West Union Recreation Foundation, P.O. Box 363, West Union, IA 52175 or to Holy Name Catholic Church, 128 N. Walnut St., West Union, IA 52175.

Josephine Marie (Langreck) Heying was born May 22, 1916, in St. Lucas, to John and Katherine (Schmitt) Langreck. Josephine (Jo) attended St. Luke’s Catholic School in St. Lucas, and after high school she completed a semester at St. Therese’s College in Winona, Minn. Jo married Hilarius “Larry” Heying Jan. 6, 1937. Their union would be blessed with four children: Terrance, Sondra, Charles and Therese. Jo and Larry started farming in Festina, later moving to Fayette, where they operated an implement business. In 1941, they purchased their first farm in West Union. In addition to farming, they began a contract business sexing chicks, a process of sorting newly hatched birds by gender. When Larry became district supervisor for Hy-Line Chicks, Jo assumed sole responsibility for the route of 18 hatcheries in northeast Iowa. She sexed chickens for over 30 years and was proud of her fastest time, sexing 1300 chicks in a single hour. In 1952 the family built a new house in West Union. Planned and designed by Jo, it was the first modern ranch-style house in West Union. Many elements were adapted from the Prairie Style design of Frank Lloyd Wright. Having learned carpentry from her father, Jo also helped build the house. In 1960, Jo and Larry formed Heying Chick Company and built a hatchery in West Union, where it continues in operation as Heying Firms, Inc. Over the years, they expanded their farm holdings and, in partnership with their son Terrance and later daughter Therese, grew their business operations to include shell egg grading, specialty egg products, started pullets and laying houses. In 1964, Larry was elected state senator. Jo was a partner in his political life, serving as clerk, legislative aide and speechwriter. In 1968, Jo ran for the Iowa House of Representatives, the first woman ever to run from her district. While she was unsuccessful, she did not lose her interest in public service. Over the next few years, Jo worked closely with the Fayette County Tourism Council and was instrumental in organizing the Fayette County Farm Tours, which offered over 80 families from the Chicago area the opportunity to live on a farm and visit farm operations throughout the county. During Larry’s first Senate term, he and Jo secured funding for the State to purchase land for the Volga Lake project. When Larry returned to the Senate in 1972, Jo worked tirelessly to ensure that the project was completed and the lake built. The Volga River State Recreation Area is now a vital northeast Iowa attraction. Well-known for her conservative fiscal nature, Jo was appointed by Governor Terry Branstad to his Task Force on Efficiencies and Cost Effectiveness in State Government in 1983. Jo and Larry were also very active as charter members of Iowans for Tax Relief. Jo was a member of the West Union Rotary Club for many years. In 1984, she traveled to Japan with a Rotary tour and was the first woman Rotarian to attend and speak at a Rotary Club in Tokyo, Japan. In 1991, the Iowa Poultry Association honored Jo and Larry with a Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1994 they were named the grand marshals of the Dairy Ag Days parade; Jo was again grand marshal in 2002. Jo was a member of Holy Name Catholic Church, Holy Name Rosary Society and for 72 years, the Catholic Daughters of the Americas (CDA), holding various offices in both organizations. She also taught CCD religious education classes for 10 years. Jo loved traveling, politics, business and the arts. In her early years on the farm she painted portraits of her family. Later her art enhanced their company’s business newsletters and promotions. She also enjoyed writing and authored several books about their time in the Iowa Senate. Jo’s children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren were her pride and joy. In 2016, she thoroughly enjoyed her 100th birthday when the entire family was home and she was able to visit with each one individually.

Those left to cherish her memory are children: Terrance (Sherrie) Heying of Mesa, Ariz., Sondra (Robert) Whaley of Lemont, Ill., Charles (Lois) Heying of Portland, Ore., Therese Slack (special friend James Taylor) of West Union. Additional survivors include grandchildren: Angela (Daniel) Guthrie, Justin (Alison) Heying, Karen (Peter) Krumins, Brenda (Anthony) Favarula, Sarah (Brandon) Campbell, Corrina (Nathan) Halstead, Kristin Heying, Benjamin (Danielle Zacherl) Heying, Robert Slack III; great-grandchildren Connor Guthrie, Shelby, Kyla, Owen and Noah Heying, Madeleine and Liliane Krumins, August, Ophelia and Levi Favarula, Beckett, Rowan and Thatcher Campbell, Emma and Hans Halstead, Sophia Heying-Sullivan and Amelie Heying. Surviving siblings include sisters: Therese Zipsie, Colette Ameling, Delores Buchheit, Joyce Zoulek; and brother, Roger Langreck.

Jo’s parents, husband, brothers Leo, Raymond, and Victor Langreck, and sisters Lena Pitzenberger and Lucy McNamara preceded her in death.

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