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Name: William Elmer Heinley (Nickname = Elmer)
Spouse: Helen J. Jackson Heinley
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1933 Attended from through

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Birthdate: April 9, 1915   
Date of Death: November 3, 2016  

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William "Elmer" Heinley, 101, well known retired farmer of Columbia Township, Columbia City, died at 11:08 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016 at Parkview Whitley Hospital. He was born April 9, 1915 in Columbia City, a son of the late Elmer Augustine and Pearl V. (Barnhill) Heinley.

His formative years were spent in Columbia Township, Whitley County. He graduated from Columbia City High School in 1933. In 1917, the family purchased the farm south of Columbia City that became his life long homestead.

On June 25, 1938, he was united in marriage to Helen J. Jackson. They always made their home on the farm south of Columbia City. His beloved wife Helen died March 23, 2011.

A life long farmer, he became a community leader known for his affable personality, intellect and adeptness. He was instrumental in establishing the Whitley County Planning Commission and was the vice-president of the building corporation for the current Columbia City High School completed in 1958. A founding member of the Columbia Township Fire Department, he served as the chief from 1951 to 1971 and a captain for many more years.

He was an agriculture advisor for Vice President Dan Quayle, Congressmen Dan Coats and Mark Souder. Elmer holds the distinction of receiving a private invitation to President Ronald Reagan's inauguration. He served as the treasurer of the Republican Central Committee in Whitley County. Governor Otis R. Bowen named him a Sagamore of the Wabash and again in 2008 Governor Mitch Daniel presented him a second Sagamore of the Wabash at the famed "Table of Knowledge" located at the local Copp's Farm Store.

A man of faith, he was a member of Eberhard Lutheran Church serving on the church council and as a Sunday school teacher for 60 years. He was a faithful member of the Columbia City Rotary Club for 63 years and the first to be inducted as an honorary member.

As a farmer, he was a career long member of the Indiana Farm Bureau.

He is survived by a daughter, Sandra Holler, of Muncie; granddaughter, Julie (Vic) Steiner, of Berne; grandson, Greg (Kim) Holler, of Dayton, Ohio; three great-grandchildren, Jennifer (Danny) Barker, Zachary and Mallory Holler; three nieces; and four nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Helen; a sister, Geraldine Bockelman and her husband, Jacob; a son-in-law, Roger Holler; and a sister-in-law, Betty Robbins and her husband Dwight.

The funeral service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at Smith & Sons Funeral Home, Columbia City. Burial will be next to his wife Helen at South Park Annex Cemetery. Visitation will be from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at the funeral home.

Preferred memorials are to the Rotary International Foundation or Eberhard Lutheran Church. Online condolences may be sent to

Published in The Post and Mail on Nov. 8, 2016

NOTE: Helen died March 23, 2011 at age 95. They lived all 72 years of their marriage on a farm south of Columbia City. Her obituary in Post & Mail March 24, 25 & 28, 2011, Pg 3; and April 4, 2011, Pg 3. She's buried in South Park Annex, Columbia City, Indiana.
Last Updated: 11-08-2016 Alumni ID: 11256
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2005 Columbia City High School Alumni Association     This page last modified 09/27/2006