James Darwin Heller, 62 years old, passed away at his Tulsa home of 31 years on Wednesday, August 26, 2020. James was born on December 16, 1957 in Vallejo, California to James Arthur and Charlotte Colleen Heller. James graduated from Kiefer High School in 1976, and married his high school sweetheart, Debra Ann Kidd on November 26th of that year. They were married for 43 years, and had twin sons, and one daughter.
James attended college at NEO in Miami, Oklahoma, although we are told that Debbie wrote most of his assignments. James worked as a teller supervisor for American National Bank in Sapulpa, before beginning his career of 22 years in the FAA as an Air Traffice Control Specialist. He first worked in Roswell, New Mexico, and later at Tulsa International Airport. James retired in 2006 after suffering a stroke.
James was raised in the Kiefer and Jenks areas and was active in sports throughout his youth, playing baseball, football, and basketball. He and his sister, Shelly, also spent many summers at the lake, skiing and swimming with their cousins. Later, James enjoyed watching his own children on their high school track, cross country, and football fields. He had a sharp mind and a dry sense of humor. James enjoyed watching sports with his close friends, Mark Brake and Daryl Rector, and was most known as a die-hard OU football fan, even through the dark times between the Switzer and Stoops eras. James was also an avid reader of a variety of books, and he instilled his love of reading in his children.
James and Debbie enjoyed playing games with their kids. Especially loved are the memories of staying up till the early morning hours of summer breaks to play cards at the family dining table.
James is proceeded in death by his parents, Jake and Colleen Heller. He is survived by his sister, Shelly Heller of Sapulpa, his wife, Debbie Heller, of Tulsa, his sons and their wives, James and Ashley Heller of Sapulpa, Jason and Paige Heller of Bristow, and daughter Brandi, and her husband, Chris Wagener of Tulsa., and eight grand children: Mollie, Garrett, Amelia, Hunter, Bayleigh, Sophia, Conner, and Spencer. Survivors also include his father and mother-in-law, Bobby and Glenda Kidd of Sapulpa, and numerous cousins, neices, and nephews.
James was saved and baptized in his youth, and his last home church was Fireside Church of Kiefer.
The family would like to thank Transitions Lifecare, and nurses Rachel, Brittnee, Tess, Amy, Angela, and Louann, Dr. David Kondos, and staff, and Chaplain Henry.
Debbie would like to give a special thanks to her children and their spouses, her sister Lisa, and Debbie's work family for helping her take care of James during the final years of his life.
Please join us in celebrating his life on Friday, September 4th at 2:30 pm at Smith Funeral Home in Sapulpa at 1208 South Main Street. Interment to follow at Green Hill Cemetery in Sapulpa at 400 East Teel Rd.
Viewing and visitation with family will be held on Thursday, September 3rd at Smith Funeral home from 6 to 8 pm.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
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