OBITUARY: John M. Heckman

NEWTON—John M. Heckman, 79, passed away on April 21, 2020, after a long and courageous battle with Parkinson’s.

He was born and raised in Wichita. John had careers in radio, working for several radio stations, including KWBB, in the commercial sound business at McClelland Sound and lastly telecommunications at Southwestern Bell.

On Jan. 31, 1975, he married Roberta Greever Eis and moved to Newton. He was a loving and caring husband and father. His passions were family, trains, music, his Masonic affiliations and his pet cats. During their 45 years of marriage, the Heckmans’ home was never without at least one cat.

He played drums with a number of different bands around the Wichita area for more than 50 years. Many people in Newton danced to the music of the Causal Trio and Special Blend. Some of his favorite “gigs” were with the Midian Shrine Hillbilly Band. He also enjoyed volunteering as a conductor for the Abilene and Smokey Valley Railroad. John was an active member of several organizations in Newton. He was a Past Exalted Ruler of the Newton Elks, Past President and Secretary of the Harvey County Shrine Club and Past Master of the Newton Masonic Lodge. He loved mentoring new Lodge members and was an excellent ritualistic.

He was preceded in death by his parents and a son, Charles Eis IV. He is survived by his wife, Roberta, and four sons, David Eis (Becky), Gary Eis, Neil Suter (Becky) and Doug Suter.

No services are scheduled at this time. A Masonic Burial Service and Celebration of Life will take place at a later date.

Online condolences may be left at


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