Wednesday, January 4, 2012

In memory of Skeeter Heist

I took a long cold walk this morning without the ipod so I could talk to God.  Last night I learned of a former roomate/tenant/pain-in-the-ass of mine, Ralph "Skeeter" Heist, had passed away.  His Aunt told me last night, or well she asked if I had gone to his service, I was surprised, I had not known.  I googled his obit last night and was saddened to see only this.

Ralph Charles Heist, 55, of Catasaqua, died October 31, 2011, in Williamsburg, VA. He was the son of Ralph R. Heist and Mary Margaret Gallagher. Survivors: Daughter, Ashleigh King; sons, Michael, Ian, Bryan and Shaun Heist; brother, Mike Heist. Services: Memorial service will be Saturday, November 5, at 10 a.m., at St. Marys Church, Catasaqua, PA. 

Skeeter was more that four lines in the paper. 

Skeeter was married twice had 5 children.  I don't know if his children really knew how much he loved them.  But all he could do was talk about them.  Especially the three older ones.  I think he had more time with them and he really missed all of them. 

Skeeter worked construction.  He use to have the great picture in his room where he is on top of the beams in a very tall building and I was amazed of how fearless he looked.  He was a member of  Local 36.  He graduated from Central Catholic High School in 1973.  He told me he wrestled and from what he said - he was very good.  One night I wasn't paying attention to him, he was telling me about his wrestling moves.  He came over to me and I guess he was going to show me one of his winning holds, and he dislocated my arm.  He felt so bad and went to the hospital with me and was so worried, but it is fine now.

I know Skeeter was in a band that played around Catasauqua, he was  a drummer.
Skeeter had his problems.  I believe he suffered from manic depression, I even tried to get him to go to a doctor, but I could never convince him, I even tried saying it to one of his ex's but I don't think they believed me.   He would have these high periods where he would go on and on, sometimes cleaning the house.  He was so thorough that he would scrub down my front porch.  He wouldn't sleep.  One night I woke up to find him laying in bed next to me, on top of the covers, fully dressed, arms crossed and when I looked at him, he said, "Oh good your up" and preceded to talk to me as I was went in and out of sleep.  Skeeter could talk, he never stopped, he talk to me while I was in the shower, he talk to me while I was cooking, he talk to me even when I slept. 

He would sleep all over the house, sometimes he was in room, sometime on the sofa with his head resting on the dog's butt, and sometime, the dog's head was resting on Skeeters butt.  Him and Jack were close.  When Jack died, I called him, I could hear the sadness in his voice over the phone. 

When Skeeter had his low periods he slept, he drank and he was depressed.  I was blessed to know him when he wasn't drinking, he was generous man, a kind man, a fearless man, a good man and a good catholic boy who would alway say, "there but  for the Grace of God" everytime he felt he had it better than someone.  Even though he had lost so much.

He was truly a lost soul, who never really found himself.  I understand he died alone, but I like to think that the Grace of God was with him. 

He use to drunk dial me  a lot, especially at Christmas, which was also around his birthday, and I was wondering why he hadn't called this year.  Now I won't get anymore calls and that makes me a little sad. 

Yes Ralph "Skeeter" Heist was a crazy man, but he still deserves more than a four line obituary.  So if you knew him and you want to add more to this story, you can email me at and I will add it here or you can add your comments.  I only knew him for a short time.

Skeeter loved Catasauqua, he loved growing up here and he loved the people here.  He was my friend and it was a shame that booze took over his life and he couldn't fight the demons and problems that were inside him.  He will be missed.

...... and that's another day in Catasauqua.