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Frank L. Heikkila

Company C-2

18 Oct 1938 - 17 Jan 2016

Place of Death: Dewey, AZ


It is with great regret and sorrow that we must notify you of the death of our Classmate, Larry Heikkila, on January 17, 2016, in Dewey, AZ, after a courageous five-year battle with brain melanoma. 

Larry is survived by wife, Margo; son, Erik and his wife, Brooke, of St. Thomas, VI, their son, Banyan, and daughter, Irie; and son Kyle and his wife, Arashan, of Salt Lake City, UT, and their sons, Reef and Talon. 

Larry's Celebration of Life service will be held at 11 AM, Saturday, July 2, 2016 at Faith United Community Church, 1061N Old Chisholm Trail, Dewey, AZ  86327.

Larry's cremated remains will be scattered over the waters of the Virgin Islands.

Condolences may be sent to Margo at 11713 Longhorn Drive, Dewey, AZ  86327-5901.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations in Larry's memory be made to your favorite charity.

Well done, Andy.  Be thou at peace.


Class Memorial Pages\C-2 Larry Heikkila.pdf

I remember Cadet Heikkila only as "Larry" because we belonged to the Army Swim Team. He swam a fast backstroke and he regularly contributed his share of points to the Army score during inter-collegiate competitions. He was a good-looking guy who smiled often and did his daily workouts with enthusiasm.

We belonged to different Companies, so we rarely met outside the gym. In the Mess Hall, I did notice that he wore stars on his Dress Gray uniform, so that meant he was one of the academically gifted ones. But he never showed it in the dining table -- he was a quiet guy, more reticent than the rest of us.

We parted ways after his Graduation Day and our paths never crossed again. He had a younger brother, Wayne, who was my classmate. Be thou at peace, Larry!

Brigadier General Ramon M. Ong (Retired)
Armed Forces of the Philippines
USMA 1963


Obituary for Frank Lawarnce Heikkila

Frank Lawrence Heikkila, 77, passed away at his home in the Prescott Country Club on Jan. 17, 2016, after a courageous battle with brain melanoma.

Larry, as he was called by family and friends, grew up in Lima, Ohio, and earned an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He graduated in 1961 and chose his commission in the U.S. Marine Corps where he served for three years. He married his childhood sweetheart Margo English in 1963, and eventually they re-located to the Virgin Islands. In St. Thomas, he taught math education at the University of the Virgin Islands for 30 years, earning the distinguished status of professor emeritus.

He was an ardent devotee of numerous water activities including boating, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving and spear fishing. He was an avid sports enthusiast and particularly enjoyed working with young people as a high school football referee. In 2006, he and Margo re-located to the Prescott area where they hoped there would be "no hurricanes."

Besides his wife, Larry is survived by two sons, Erik L. Heikkila of St. Thomas and Kyle W. Heikkila of Salt Lake City, Utah; and four grandchildren.

Taps Memorial Article:

Frank L. Heikkila  1961

Cullum No. 23302-1961 | January 17, 2016 | Died in Dewey, AZ
Cremated. Ashes scattered over Virgin Islands waters.

Frank Lawrence ‘Larry’ Heikkila was born in Buffalo, NY on October 18, 1938. His pre-school years were spent in Texas, where his father was training troops during World War II. Larry attended first grade in three states: Texas, Montana, and, after the war, when his family returned to Buffalo, NY. When Larry was in fifth grade, they moved to Pittsburgh, PA, where his father was transferred by Westinghouse.

In seventh grade, they moved again, this time to Lima, OH. Fortuitously, his family purchased a house adjacent to property where my family was beginning construction on a new home. So we became neighbors! Larry enjoyed many sports—JV football, golf, cross country—and he was a starting guard on the basketball team. He spent summers as a “Y” camp counselor, instructing swimming and archery. He was a good student, taking all the math and science classes offered. In his senior year, Ohio Congressman William McCulloch awarded him an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy.

Larry entered West Point in July 1957. The swim coach immediately recognized his athleticism, and thus began Larry’s tenure on the swim team. He always said that sitting at “training tables” for meals made the rigor of cadet life tolerable. For three years he roomed with the same two cadets, Mick Seidl from Ohio and Phil Ringdahl from North Dakota. They became lifelong friends, keeping in touch for nearly 60 years. His grades were excellent, earning him academic “stars” his final year and graduating 21st in his class of 534. (He maintained he could have done better had he not taken Russian.) Upon graduation he chose his commission in the U.S. Marine Corps.

In August 1961, Larry entered Quantico. He was designated Infantry Officer 0302, one of five in his Basic School class to be selected for sea duty with a Marine detachment aboard a carrier. That fall, the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt deployed on a Mediterranean cruise where Larry earned the rare qualification for a Marine—Officer of the Deck (Underway). Upon his return, I married that “boy next door!”

Next assignment: Camp Lejeune! Upon arriving, Larry learned his unit would be going to the “Med” (again) soon after Christmas. In January he boarded the USS Telefair, an attack transport. The ship was headed for Soudha Bay, Crete, where their mission was to “float in the general area of Cyprus till the Joints Chiefs of Staff felt the situation no longer warranted it.” In February 1964, ten ships were in formation there, which they maintained for more than 60 days. After two months on board the Telefair, Larry’s entire company transferred to the LSD USS Spiegel Grove. This relocation was in preparation for OPERATION DELWAR, a joint Iranian-American ground-sea demonstration to be witnessed by the Shah of Iran. After weeks of planning, the exercise took place in mid-April on Kharg Island with Larry narrating the Marine squad demonstration, standing just 20 feet away from the Shah. This exercise, designed to improve the defense combat effectiveness of the Central Treaty Organization, was a huge success despite temperatures over 100 degrees.

In late April, as the Spiegel Grove prepared to traverse the Suez Canal, Larry received word that his 57-year-old father passed away unexpectedly; he flew home from Cairo. But, because his ship was “homebound,” he reported back to Camp Lejeune to await its return. While there, Larry was “privy” to a commanding officer’s insight: the United States was soon to become involved in Southeast Asia in a conflict that would last for years. He counseled Larry to “get out while you can!” Larry wrote his resignation that evening.

In September 1964 we moved to Hartford City, IN, where Larry spent three years working for 3M. He attended night school at Ball State University, earning a master’s degree. But corporate life was not for him. Consequently, in 1967, we “threw caution to the wind” and moved to the Virgin Islands, where Larry worked for his uncle who owned a construction business in St. Thomas. He began teaching evenings at the local college. Soon after, he accepted a full-time mathematics position and never looked back. He loved being in the classroom. In 1980 we temporarily relocated to Buffalo, NY so he could complete his doctorate at SUNY. Soon after returning home, Larry became chairman of Math and Sciences at The University of the Virgin Islands. It was a “match made in heaven.” He was the consummate college professor, retiring as emeritus after nearly 30 years.

Island life was idyllic! We welcomed two sons. We became boat owners and enjoyed exploring nearby coral reefs. Larry taught our sons to snorkel, waterski, spear fish, and they spent innumerable good times SCUBA diving. He volunteered as a high school football referee. He served as the Virgin Islands’ chef de mission for three Winter Olympic Games, traveling with the athletes to Lillehammer, Nagano, and Salt Lake City. But, by 2006, it became clear that we needed to return Stateside, medical concerns being paramount in our decision. We had spent 10 summers traveling the United States and Canada in our comfortable motor home. We loved the Southwest, and summertime found us moving into a home on a golf course outside Prescott, AZ. It was an excellent decision, and we molded our lives to a totally new environment, from tropics to high desert!

Indeed Larry was a survivor, having lived through three heart attacks and two neurosurgeries. But time was running out, and on January 17, 2016 he passed away after a courageous five-year battle with brain melanoma. I know of no one who didn’t value him, as a Marine, a teacher, and a friend. And I cherished him as a devoted father and the loving husband who gave complete meaning to my life.

— Margo Heikkila