Kremmling area native Leonard Heeney dies
Leonard Earl Heeney was born on June 24, 1924, in Sheephorn, Colo., to Paul Revere and Vernie Blanch Smith Heeney. He was the fifth of six children born to them and was raised in various sheep ranches up and down the Blue River. He was taught to work and be responsible from a very early age.
He attended one-room school houses in both Colorow and Slate Creek. He also attended school for one year at Kremmling Union High School and was always proud of what he accomplished in his life on a ninth grade education. However, he always stressed the importance of education to all young people.
Leonard enlisted in the Seabees (Naval Construction Battalion) in August 1943 and went to Camp Perry, Va., for boot camp. He then took advanced training at Davisville, R.I., and was in the 129th NCB Battalion from the day he enlisted, until his honorable discharge in 1946.
He served in Hawaii and helped build the runway now used by the International Airport. He also helped construct roads and airports in the Philippines. Leonard was always proud of his military involvement during WW II, but especially of being a Seabee.
On June 1, 1947, he married Nelle Eastin in Kremmling. They had four children, seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
After moving to Rangely after his discharge, Leonard worked in the oil field for Dewey Ross. Construction was his first love and he loved working all the big equipment. In 1949, he moved to Vernal, Utah, with Ross Construction and then bought the company in 1970.
He ran a successful company that grew until his retirement in 1989. He was known for getting the job done and for his honesty, integrity, and dependability.
Leonard served on the Vernal City Council in the early 1980s and was elected mayor of Vernal from 1990 until 1999. During this time he served on many boards including the CIB. He had fun as mayor and made many friends around the state as he represented Vernal City. He was a charter member of the Vernal Elks Lodge, an active member of the Kiwanis, Knights of Columbus, and Rotary.
Leonard died on May 8, 2011, at Ashley Regional Medical Center. He is survived by his wife; daughters, Teresa Davenport, Vernie Heeney, and Gail (David) Wittenberg; son, Clifton (Tuuli) Heeney; brothers, Dan Heeney, Pat Heeney, Gary Heeney and Jim Heeney; seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, four brothers and a sister.
Services were held Monday, June 13, 2011, at the Saint James Catholic Church in Vernal, with viewings Sunday evening at the Vernal Blackburn Mortuary and a Rosary afterward.
Burial was in the Vernal Memorial Park with military honors from the American Legion 124 and 11 and the Utah Army National Guard under the direction of the Blackburn Vernal Mortuary.
In lieu of flowers, the family recommends donations to the Operation Smiles Center or the American Legion in Jensen, Utah.
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