WILLIAMSPORT/AVIS - Sylvester “K” Heller, long time Avis resident, passed away peacefully in his sleep early Thursday morning, September 19th at Leighton Place in Williamsport.
Known to everyone as just “K”, he was 93. He was born on September 1, 1926 in Avis and was the son of the late Leonard F. and Edith P. (Cowher) Heller, Sr. He was the eldest of three children.
On June 3, 1949, he married his childhood sweetheart, Betty Kathleen Frable, and they celebrated 70 years as husband and wife until the time of her death on June 22, 2019.
During WWII, he sailed the North Atlantic as a radio operator in the merchant marine before joining the US Army and serving in the Philippines. After the war, he operated “K” Heller’s Body Shop in Avis for 20 years before going to Piper Aircraft in Lock Haven, eventually becoming the Experimental Department manager. On Piper’s closing, the family moved to Lansing, MI, where he became a manager for Classic Aircraft where they built the Waco YMF-5. On retiring, he returned to his home in Avis.
He was widely admired for his craftsmanship and had a life long love of flying and airplanes. He flew both powered aircraft and sailplanes, and was a trained aerobatic pilot. Over the years, he rebuilt several small planes, and starting from plans and materials, built six of his own including both single and two-place AcroSports and DerJaeger bi-planes as well as a Pietenpol Air Camper and Hummel Bird. He was always ready to lend a hand and became involved with the building, rebuilding or repair of numerous other small planes.
“K” is survived by three children; Lance “K” Heller (Donna) of Jersey Shore, Leisa G. Brown (John) of Oval and Kurt L. Heller (Margot) of Willow, Alaska, eight grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and one brother; Leonard F. Heller of Williamsport. In addition to his parents and wife, he was predeceased by his sister; Jill K. Frazier of Poughkeepsie, NY.
In keeping with “K”’s wishes, there will be no public services.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN, 38105.
Arrangements are being handled by the Rearick-Carpenter Funeral Home, 1002 Allegheny St., Jersey Shore, PA.
To send flowers to Sylvester's family, please visit our floral section.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
501 St. Jude Place, Memphis TN 38105