Val Raymond Heim, 99, Superior, Neb., passed away on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019. He was born in Plymouth, Wis., on Nov. 4, 1920 to Raymond John (R.J.) and Cora Susanna (Lueloff) Heim.
As a result of his father being a railroad conductor, Val spent his childhood in various communities along Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. He was an exceptional all-around athlete in high school at Iron River, Mich. After graduation, he attended a baseball camp in Jackson, Miss., where the Chicago White Sox offered him a contract. In short time, he went from Jonesboro, Ark., to Waterloo, Iowa, and up through the White Sox farm system. On Aug. 31, 1942, at the age of 21, he made his big league debut with the Chicago White Sox as the starting left fielder against the Philadelphia A's. As a major leaguer, he also had the pleasure of playing against two of his idols, Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox and Joe DiMaggio of the New York Yankees.
His professional baseball career was interrupted by World War II. As a result at the end of the 1942 season, he joined the Navy Air Corps. and was stationed at Lambert Field in St. Louis, where he continued to play ball with the Naval Air Station Wings. From 1944 to 1945, he served on the island of Saipan, working with the Seabees to build roads and airstrips for bombers bound for Japan. Near the end of the war, he contracted rheumatic fever, which sidelined his baseball career for more than a year. After recovery, he continued to play ball in the minor leagues for a couple more years in California, Florida and Cuba.
It was at this time, Val married the love of his life, Elizabeth “Betty” Pfeifer in Florida. They were married for more than 70 years and were blessed with two children, Diane Marie and Val Raymond Jr. Val and Betty returned to Betty's hometown of St. Louis, Mo., where he worked for his brother-in-law’s roofing company. Baseball still beckoned, however, and Val decided to move his family to Superior, Neb., where he was offered the positions of both player and manager for the local semi-pro team, the Superior Senators. He also then started his long career with Ideal Cement and developed a life-long interest in Angus cattle. Up until his death, one of his biggest joys was going to his farm and tending his cattle. He and Betty loved playing golf and enjoyed traveling and visiting family. In 1986, Val was inducted into the Nebraska Baseball Hall of Fame. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church, the Masonic Lodge and a longtime member of the Superior Country Club.
He is survived by his beloved wife of the home, Betty, his daughter, Diane Heim Boyd, Hill City, Kan., and her family: Valerie (Ben) Kalny, Lake Quivira, Kan., and children Noah, Eli, Holli Jane and Lilly; Suzie (Wade) McDowell, Hill City, Kan., and children Lexie, Aaron and Brody; Robyn (Aubrey) Cathcart, Overland Park, Kan., and children Abigail, A.J., Amarie and Augie; and Kristin (Erik) Kemerling, Greenwood, Ind., and children Lauren, Annabelle, Quinn and Levi. His son, Val Raymond Heim, Jr. and his wife, Melody, Sterling, Colo., and their family: Val Heim III, Thornton, Colo., and daughter Ariauna; Joy (Mark) Mooberry, Omaha, Neb., and daughter Rachel (Blake) and their daughter Nicole; Mercy Alpert, Los Angeles, Calif., and sons Derek, Lee and Harrison. He is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews and friends, including John Combs, Jeanine Kintigh and Linda Thagard. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother, Ray (Colleen) Heim, brother-in-law Harry (Loretta) Pfeifer and son-in-law, Robert Boyd.
At the end of his life, Val might have held the title of World’s Oldest Living Major League Baseball Player, but in the hearts of his family, he definitely held the title of World’s Best Husband, Father and Grandfather. God truly hit a homerun when he created Val Heim!
Funeral services were Wednesday 2:00 pm November 27, 2019 at the Williams Funeral Home Chapel in Superior, Nebraska with Pastor Mark Diehl officiating. Burial with military honors was in the Evergreen Cemetery, Superior, Nebraska.
Memorials may be given to Superior Youth Athletic Association and or the Presbyterian Church in Superior.
Williams Funeral Homes
telephone 402 879 3123
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