Loras J. "Doc" Heck

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Loras Joseph “Doc” Heck, 94, of Elkader, formerly of Garnavillo, Chicago, and Bensenville, Ill., died Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, at the Central Community Hospital in Elkader surrounded by loved ones.

Funeral services were Tuesday, Feb. 6, at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Elkader, conducted by Rev. John Haugen. Visitation was before services at the church.

Interment was at Marion Lutheran Cemetery, Gunder, by Pastor Marshall Hahn.

Arrangements were handled by Tuecke-Allyn Funeral Home, Garnavillo.

Loras was born on Oct. 14, 1923, in Garber, the son of George and Teresa (Burr) Heck.

Loras graduated from Garnavillo High School and attended Elkader Junior College. Loras loved baseball and played catcher for a local team. One of his favorite stories was the game against their archrival. It was the bottom of the ninth, two outs, and the opponents had the tying run on third. When the pitcher threw the ball to Loras, he pulled a potato out of his pocket and threw it down the line, over the third baseman’s head. The runner broke for home, only to be easily tagged out by Loras who still had the baseball in his glove.

He served in the United States Army in Italy during World War II from 1943 to 1945. One day, he was serving with the combat engineers, guarding a mine by a bridge, when the head cook became ill. Since Loras had learned to cook as a child at home, he was asked to help out for the night. He made such a good pineapple upside down cake that the captain asked him to switch duties and become the first cook. A few days later, the mess sergeant was killed and Loras took over as mess sergeant, serving the front line troops from the back of a truck. Later he was asked to cook for the officer’s mess. Loras received three battle stars for the Rome-Arno Gothic Line and the Po Valley campaigns. After the war in Europe was won, he was assigned to be part of the invasion of Japan. He was the head cook on a ship headed for the Pacific when the second atomic bomb was dropped and the war was over. He never forgot the announcement that came over the loudspeaker at 4 a.m. one August morning, “We’re changing course and heading for home sweet home”.

On Aug. 9, 1947, Loras was united in marriage with H. Arlene Hanson in St. Louis, Mo. He studied at Logan School of Chiropractic in St Louis. After completing his education, Doc and Arlene made their home in Bensenville, Ill. He was proud to care for anyone who needed relief from pain: “If your spine is in line, you’ll feel fine.” Doc helped many well-known patients during his years as a chiropractor, including several Cubs players, White Soxs players Gary Peters and Joe Horlan, and Chicago Sting Coach Willie Roy.

After retiring to Garnavillo, Doc and Arlene were well-known for their service to their churches and the community. We will always remember their holiday dinners, Lefse and Italian beef, Christmas light displays and family July Fourth celebrations.

Doc and Arlene enjoyed cooking, playing cards and entertaining. They traveled many places together over the years with their travel agency connections. Doc was a faithful Cubs fan and always had a joke to tell. Above all, family was their priority, and they spent countless hours spoiling two generations of nieces and nephews.

Doc is survived by his nieces and nephews, Teresa (Dick) Feiertag, Richard (Virgetta) Junk, Steve (Jan) Junk, Jeanne (Jeff) Haynes, Mary Bair, Jim Junk, John (Lisa) Junk, Mark (Tisha) Junk, Bill (Lori) Heck, Rose (Dan) McEleney, Mary Ann (Phil) Stroud, Lori (David) Stockdale, Betty Hanson, Judy Glesne, Marilyn (Lain) Gibbs, Kim Hanson, Susan (Keith) Shykes, Barb (Mike) Neff, Karen Kuntz (Todd Wiblin); many great-nephews and great-nieces; and sisters-in-law, Connie Heck, Ida Mae (Hanson) Kuntz and Helen Meyer.

Doc is preceded in death by his wife; parents; brothers, Bud (Lila) and Jack Heck; sister and brother-in-law, Lolita (Gene) Junk; nephews, Dwight Hanson and Gene Glesne; and great-nephews, Michael Heck and Christopher Shykes.

For the final time, Doc has changed course and headed for home sweet home.

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