John Bean Heltzel, 98, a resident of Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community in Harrisonburg, passed away Monday, Oct. 1, 2012. John was born, April 13, 1914, in Hardy County, W.Va., to the late David Conrad and Ivy Bean Heltzel.
Mr. Heltzel graduated from John Handley High School in Winchester in 1933 and received a bachelor’s degree in forest conservation from North Carolina State University in 1937. He served with the West Virginia Department of Forestry as the tree nursery supervisor and as district forester for six years, followed by 40 years in various other positions with the Virginia Department of Forestry. He retired July 1, 1982, as associate state forester.
On Feb. 12, 1946, John married Evelyn Williams Nixon, who preceded him in death in 2004.
He enjoyed fishing, hiking, canoeing and traveling throughout the continental United States, Canadian provinces and Mexico. He also enjoyed amateur radio and woodworking. In addition to his many hobbies, he also belonged to the Society of American Foresters, the American Radio League, Ruritans and the Junior Chamber of Commerce.
John is survived by nephews, Fred Heltzel, and Richard Heltzel, both of Sacramento, Calif.; nieces, Jane Moore and Susan Crews, both of Lynchburg, Va.; his cousin, Perry “Pete” Heltzel, of Wardensville, W.Va.; and a loving cocker spaniel, Colby.
A memorial service is planned for 1:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012 at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community, Strite Auditorium, in Harrisonburg.
Memorial contributions may be made to the VMRC Foundation, 1491 Virginia Ave., Harrisonburg, VA 22802. Arrangements are being handled by Kyger Funeral Home in Harrisonburg.