Cover photo for Lawrence F. Heide's Obituary
Lawrence F. Heide Profile Photo
1921 Lawrence 2020

Lawrence F. Heide

October 22, 1921 — March 25, 2020

The Story of Frederick Lawrence Heide March 25, 2020 was a lovely spring day, the kind of day Lawrence Heide would have loved to take a walk outside, alone or with his wife Tein by his side, wheeling their red walkers around the neighborhood. This day, though, was the day his amazing ninety-eight year life came to an end. He was the last remaining son of John Frederick (Fred) and Sallie Louise (Duvall) Heide and brother to Walter, Paul, Don, and Louise. He had spent most of his life outside, growing up on the farm he was born on in Osborne County, Kansas. He plowed fields with the horses his father owned and later drove a tractor to do his chores. His father gave Lawrence the job of fixing things that broke down—the tractor, vehicles, other things on the farm. He had to figure out what was needed to make them work again. His self-taught skills would serve him well his whole life. When he left the farm, he worked in Wichita helping manufacture small planes and eventually wings for bombers through Boeing. When World War II began, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps. He was certified in sheet metal work and spent the twenty-seven months he was stationed in England repairing war-damaged aircraft. When he was only in his early teens, he and his brothers began hauling produce to help support his family through the Dust Bowl and the locust invasion that followed. They hauled Kansas wheat north and brought back corn and oats to Kansas. They took corn to Oklahoma and Colorado and carried peaches and pears north from Texas. Lawrence never lost his love of travel, he always wanted to go places. Every summer he would take Tein and his daughters, Cheryl and Brenda, on trips across the country. There were very few states they didn't visit. And many years later, he and Tein took extensive cruises and trips to far reaching places he had only dreamed about when he was a boy: South America, Alaska, England, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Russia, New Zealand, Australia and many other places. Finally, he purchased a condominium in Key West, Florida, as a retreat away from home for him and his family. Lawrence knew Ernestein Louise Grimes from grade school in Harlan, Kansas. He was the same age as her brother DuWayne. Lawrence's brother Walter had married her sister Opal. He was a high school basketball player, and Tein was the cheerleader for the team. They were friends and enjoyed being together including going on rides on his motorcycle. When he came home on leave at Christmas in 1945 his life would change forever. He drove to where Tein was working at the Air Force base in Grand Island, Nebraska and asked her out. He took one look at the pretty blond woman, who had changed so much from the childhood girl he had known, and he fell in love. They were married at the Congregational Church in Smith Center on July 4th, 1945. They bought a little square white house in Harlan. And while Tein settled into making a home, Lawrence began what would become a career in the construction business. He started with a tractor, scraper, and dozer, using his equipment to build ponds and dirt roads for neighboring farms. But in 1953, a brand new interstate roadway system was authorized by President Eisenhower, and Lawrence began building his earth-moving business with his brother, other partners, and relied upon construction workers into a large construction business. He built sections of Interstate 70 from Kansas to Colorado and other large highway systems including Highway 75 near Topeka. The construction company also successfully bid on dams, railroad grades, bridges and canals across Kansas and surrounding states. He drove 50,000 miles a year back and forth overseeing his many projects and was away from home through most weeks, returning to Tein and his daughters and their home in Smith Center on weekends. Occasionally they would join him, staying for a while during the summer in towns close to his work. When he was home the family would play together, taking trips, going fishing, hiking along the Solomon River or walking on the frozen ice in the winter. He found horses for his daughters to ride, brought surprise kitties home from his travels. To be home more often, Lawrence learned to fly and bought a single engine Bonanza plane to travel to construction sites and back to his home. Eventually, he and Tein moved to Topeka and built a new house there. In 1981, he retired and auctioned all his equipment. He worked hard for thirty-five years to provide Tein and his daughters with whatever they needed and wanted. He was good with handling money and working with people, but it was very stressful. Finally, he could begin to relax and enjoy the life he had earned. Beside traveling extensively, he and Tein became avid golfers and joined the Shawnee Country Club. They loved opportunities to go dancing together. Lawrence became a member of the Shriners and other fraternal organizations including the Moose Lodge. He provided support to many local philanthropic organizations as well. Lawrence had many friendships that lasted throughout his life. Making friends came easy to him. He would begin conversations with everyone he met, everywhere he went. It was a family joke that no matter where he was, there always seemed to be someone there who knew him. When he was younger, he hunted deer and pheasants. But as he grew older, he preferred watching beautiful creatures tand never had the heart to hunt them again. He enjoyed the many birds including orioles and hummingbirds that came to the feeders outside his window. Lawrence was a fisherman. Whether deep sea fishing, fly fishing or fishing from his boat or canoe on local lakes, he was happy on the water. He liked a good poker game. He enjoyed museums of art and history and spent time carefully reading exhibit descriptions. He enjoyed music, starting from his childhood when he listened to his mother playing her upright piano. He loved to read. Lawrence was a complex man, who will be missed by many people for many reasons. He will be missed by his wife Ernestein, who has known him her entire life and he will always be the love of her life; by his daughters Cheryl and Brenda for his fun-loving nature, his support and encouragement and guidance to do whatever they wanted to accomplish in their lives; by his Grandson Kip and Great-Grandson Jaime as a loving man who was interested in all that they would do and who they would become; by his nephews and nieces as a measure of heritage and holding family above all else, and by his friends for his wit and generous spirit. Goodbye, Lawrence Heide, Husband, Father, Grand-Father, Great-Grandfather, Uncle and Friend. As he wrote in the story of his life that he self-published at age ninety: “I fought the good fight. I've finished the course. I've kept the faith.” Lawrence will lie in state on Monday, March 30, 2020 from 9-10:30 A.M., for a public viewing not exceeding 10 people at a time per state restrictions. The family will not be present. Graveside services will be held 11:00 A.M. on Monday, March 30 at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Topeka. Services will be recorded and able to view after Monday for those unable to attend. The service and photos can be viewed on Lawrence's memorial webpage at www.brennanmathenafh.com. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the American Red Cross and/or Topeka Rescue Mission. Contributions can be mailed or left with the funeral home. To share a memory or to leave condolences, please visit www.brennnamathenafh.com. Arrangements are entrusted to Brennan-Mathena Funeral Home, 800 SW 6th Ave., Topeka, KS 66603.
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Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Monday, March 30, 2020

9:00 - 10:30am (Central time)

BRENNAN-MATHENA FUNERAL HOME

800 SW 6th Ave, Topeka, KS 66603

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Graveside Service

Monday, March 30, 2020

Starts at 11:00am (Central time)

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