Calvin Coolidge Heer entered into the comfort of his Heavenly Fathers arms on Tuesday August 2, 2016
Calvin was born January 27, 1926 on the family farm located south of Longdale, Okla. He was the sixth of eight children born to John and Mary (Smith) Heer. Calvin played banjo at his first music gig with his brothers at age 11, and eventually saved his earnings to purchase his first saxophone for $15.
In 1944, before completing his senior year in high school, Calvin was drafted into the U. S. Navy. He completed basic training at Camp Waldon in Farragut, Idaho. Afterwards, he was stationed at the Naval Landing Force Equipment Depo in Albany, Calif., repairing landing craft troop carriers. In the evenings, he played saxophone with the Navy Band for officer clubs and for wounded troops in both the Army and Navy hospitals.
After his honorable military discharge, Calvin returned to the Longdale family farm. For the next few years he traveled and played saxophone for dances in Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas. By lucky chance, he met Bonnie Young (from nearby Fairview, Okla.) at a drugstore soda fountain. Bonnie consented to marry him only if he obtained a steady paying job. Calvin went right out and was hired at the Enid Flour Mill. Bonnie and Calvin were married June 30, 1949 in Enid, Okla. Calvin continued his musical career evenings and weekends, forming a big band called, The Blue Notes, which also performed at Vance Air Force Base Club. In the late 1950s the Cal Heer Band made several appearances at the WKY television studios in Enid where they performed in front of live television audiences. At various times in his life, Calvin owned a butcher shop, worked as a tv repairman and sold appliances and furniture. He also built a housing development at Lake Eufaula. Eventually, Calvin built a successful business, selling insurance for many years.
The family, which grew to six children, moved to Woodward, then Edmond and finally back to a beautiful acreage near Longdale. Bonnie and Calvin built their dream home which was constructed partially underground into the side of a hill overlooking a meadow. Calvin developed his own wilderness park, constructing a stocked bass pond named Lake Tim and a bridge over the pond he named Bonnies Bridge. Over the years, a meandering trail was cleared that lead to a hobo camp where Calvin hosted campouts, cowboy cookouts and sing-alongs.
Calvin and Bonnie were both baptized in 1961 at the Enid Wesleyan Methodist Church and this life changing event redirected his musical emphasis towards hymns of faith and Gods love. Calvin enjoyed reading the Bible and discussing the importance of faith in God and sharing prayer with friends and family. He was involved for many years with the music ministry at Fairview Mennonite Brethren Church. He viewed his musicianship as a ministry; which, in his later years inspired him to form the Gospel Grandpas.
Calvin's musical talent included not only saxophone, but also clarinet, guitar, banjo, and mandolin. He was a guest performer with the Phillips University music department, entertained with the Gospel Grandpas at nursing home visitations, and played big band music for Ingrids German Restaurant in Oklahoma City. Calvin retired from his musical career last year.
In June, 2005, Calvin's family celebrated Fathers Day and surprised him with an official convocation of his Longdale High School diploma exactly 60 years after his classmates had graduated. The state of Oklahoma had recently passed legislation that specifically allowed honorably discharged veterans who had not graduated due to their active military duty to receive their high school diplomas.
Bonnie passed away in 2006 and Calvin moved to Edmond, Okla. to be closer to his children. Calvin became reacquainted with a Longdale schoolmate, Nelda Barnes, and they were married July 27, 2008 making their home in Edmond.
This past January, family and friends came together to celebrate Calvins 90th birthday, sharing stories and memories. Calvin played mandolin accompanied by his good friends Gene Morgan and Will Nunn and his nephew Jay Young. Several hymns were sung by those gathered together. Precious memories.
Calvin is preceded in death by his parents, Mary and John, his first wife of 57 years, Bonnie Jean (Young) Heer, his brothers Roy, Brady, Mearl, George, and John Heer and by his stepson Darrell Hutton.
Calvin is survived by his second wife, Nelda (Barnes Hutton) Heer, by siblings Carl Heer and Aimee Dirks, and by his six children: Janet Yvonne Wood, husband David; Judith Elaine Wright, husband Steve; Jean Annette Bostwick, husband Mark; Paul Calvin Heer, wife Lana; David Jon Heer; and Timothy Mark Heer. Calvin is also survived by his five grandchildren: Jonathon Sligar; Debra Deskin, husband David; Anna Flaming, husband Jeremy; Jacob Bostwick; Gabrielle Heer; and by one great-granddaughter Amelia Flaming. He is also survived by stepson David Hutton, wife DeEtte; and step-grandchildren Andra Hutton Mack, husband Christopher; Tyler and Cole Hutton and many other family members who he loved very much.
Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m. Saturday, August 6, at Fairview Mennonite Brethren Church at 1600 E. State Road, Fairview, officiated by Pastor Mark Hollingsworth of the Edmond First Church of the Nazarene. Interment will be at Fairview Cemetery. Memorial donations in lieu of flowers may be made to Mennonite Central Committee. ( https://donate.mcc.org/)
Published on August 2, 2016