John Bruce Heckman

April 6, 1935 ~ October 25, 2023 (age 88) 88 Years Old

John Heckman Obituary

John Bruce Heckman, known affectionately as Bruce, loving father, grandfather, retired businessman and financial “whiz”, died of cancer on October 25, 2023, in West Chester, PA at the age of 88. 

With a work hard, play hard philosophy, Bruce had a straightforward style but also great personal warmth, a big smile and an easy laugh.  His favorite meal was a crab cake and a glass of good red wine.  

Bruce is survived by sons Robert Heckman of Glen Mills, PA, Peter Heckman of Exton, PA, (the children of Bruce’s first wife, Marjorie Hill of West Chester, PA) grandsons Christopher Heckman and Nicholas Heckman to whom he was a devoted “Pappy”, and stepsons David Scheivert of Media, PA (Emily) and Daniel Scheivert of Ridgefield, CT.  He was preceded in death by his second wife, Mary Ann Voigt Heckman (d. 2015).

Born in Reading, PA, on April 6, 1935, Bruce was the son of John D. and Emily Schmeck Heckman.  As a young man he became an accomplished equestrian and then a riding instructor at Camp Conrad Weiser.  He attended Gettysburg College where he majored in Economics, played in the marching band, and was Treasurer of the Phi Delta Theta     Fraternity, graduating in 1957.

Bruce took a lifelong love of music into the U.S. military where he played the tuba in his regiment’s band. He was also a gifted singer with a rich baritone voice and performed in a number of choirs including the chorus at Heritage Shores in Bridgeville, Delaware, his most recent home.  

With a head for numbers and a remarkable work ethic, Bruce began a thriving career in the corporate world working his way up to the position of Chief Financial Officer of ARA Services in Philadelphia. He also had a number of successful entrepreneurial ventures.  In 1977, he became the owner and CEO of Atlantic Gasket in Philadelphia. 

Retiring early, Bruce and Mary Ann embarked on many adventures that included sailing the Chesapeake Bay, motor coaching through America’s National Parks, collecting antiques and visiting Alaska.  With his considerable handyman skills and love of vintage homes, Bruce refurbished a dilapidated farmhouse in Staunton, VA.  He also enjoyed gardening, reading the Philadelphia Inquirer, and was an avid Phillies fan. 

Bruce will be remembered for his great wisdom and intelligence, his integrity, a tough-but-fair attitude about many things, the selfless care-giving he provided to his late wife, his keen sense of humor and an ability to make others feel good just being around him.  He was old school but also adapted to the modern world he lived to see.

A private celebration of Bruce Heckman’s life will take place on Saturday, November 4, 2023.

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