Richard William "Dick" Heasler


(October 11, 2002)

A memorial service for Richard William (Dick) Heasler, who died Friday, Oct. 11, will be held Saturday, Oct. 19 at 2 p.m. in the Trapper Gymnasium at Northwest College. He was 80.

Mr. Heasler was born May 24, 1922, in Douglas, son of John and Margaret Heasler. The Heasler family moved to Powell in March of 1930 where John Heasler worked in the oil fields as a mechanic before opening his own business, Jack's Motor Company. Dick's uncle, Henry, had established Heasler Plumbing & Heating in 1928. After Henry's untimely death shortly after Dick's move to Powell, his father, John, took over the plumbing business. Young Dick helped at the shop while attending school.

Dick began his education by attending first grade in Panhandle, Texas, and he finished grade school and high school in Powell. He was an outstanding athlete for Powell High School, lettering four years each in football and basketball and three years in track. He graduated from PHS in 1941, and his athletic ability earned him a football scholarship to the University of Wyoming where he enrolled in the fall of 1941.

He married his high school sweetheart, Gladys Peters, on Aug. 17, 1942, and the couple lived in Powell. Dick enlisted in the U.S. Navy that same year and was assigned in the Pacific aboard the USS Independence, a light aircraft carrier that took him into battle at Wake, New Guinea, Rabaul and the bloody battle in the Central Pacific at Tarawa. The Independence was torpedoed on Nov. 20, 1943. The blast destroyed Dick's quarters and many of his bunkmates. Later, Dick was transferred to the "Jeep" carrier Copahee, which in 1945 carried to the B-29 base at Tinian the second atomic bomb dropped on Japan.

After the war, Dick and Gladys, along with Ric, a son born during the war, went to Laramie so Dick could attend the University of Wyoming. He returned to Powell without graduating to help his father in the plumbing business, and from that time on he was the driving force behind Heasler Plumbing & Heating. His business did the mechanical work in 1950 on the Powell Hospital, in 1960 on the Powell and Cody high schools, and many of the Northwest College buildings.

During these busy times, Dick was also busy building a family, adding two sons, Patrick in 1950 and Henry in 1953, and a daughter, Margaret, in 1961.

It was during the 60s that Dick became more active in community affairs. He served as a volunteer fireman for 17 years, serving a short time as chief. He also served for 33 years on the Powell Hospital Board. He was selected by the Powell Valley Chamber of Commerce as the Member of the Year for 1981.

He served the City of Powell as a city councilman from 1961 to 1972, on the planning and zoning board from 1973 to 1980, and as mayor from 1981 to 1984 and from 1989 to 1992.

Survivors include his wife Gladys; three sons, Ric of Powell, Patrick of Richland, Wash., and Henry of Mammoth in Yellowstone National Park; and two sisters, Katherine Christiansen of Powell and Mary Lois Jacobson of Grand Junction, Colo.

He was preceded in death by his daughter, Margaret.

Dick continued to operate his plumbing business until the age of 79. He had just completed the sale of his business only this year and entered into a belated retirement. He will be missed by friends and family.