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Memorials: Phoenix Friends Meeting

Oliver Saxon Heckman

Date of birth

Sept. 4, 1906

Date of death

May 13, 1997


Phoenix Friends Meeting

Memorial minute

Oliver Saxon Heckman was born September 4, 1900 in Lehmasters, Pennsylvania, the son of the late Henry Lesher Heckman and Mary Etter Heckman. After a childhood on the farm, he received a baccalaureate from Lebanon Valley College. He took further courses at Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania, receiving a Master of Arts from the University of Illinois. He taught political science and history at Lake Forest College and at Earlham College. For twenty years Oliver was superintendent of the Neshaminy District Schools in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, teaching during the summers at Kurztown State College, Pennsylvania State University, and Lehigh University.

On July 5, 1927 Oliver married Eva Cooper in the Little Church Around the Corner in New York City.

The influence at Earlham College brought Oliver into relationship with the Quaker meeting. The family church memberships were transferred to the West Richmond Meeting in Indiana. Oliver served there as a Sunday school teacher of adolescent youth, as Clerk when the family moved to the Harrisburg M and as Clerk of Ministry and Worship later in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. He was particularly active in the celebration of the 275th anniversary of the founding of Pennsylvania. Upon moving to Arizona, Oliver transferred his membership to Phoenix Monthly Meeting on July 5, 1970. There he served on Finance Committee and with Ministry and Oversight.

Oliver Heckman was the author of magazine articles and pamphlets dealing with historical subjects. He also spoke to audiences on Quaker topics.

Oliver took his work seriously, often shouldering assignments regardless of the challenges they provoked. Some of his responsibilities included speaking at Lake Forest College on Supreme Court decisions and coaching the football team at Swarthmore High School, never having played that sport himself. Oliver had a close relationship with his family. He shared his passion for flowers and plants and his sense of humor with his friends.

Oliver was preceded in death by his wife Eva. He is survived by his son, Dr. Richard C. Heckman, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and three grandchildren. He also has surviving nieces and nephews in Pennsylvania. Oliver died on May 13, 1997.