Lt. Col. Karl R. Heiser, a retired Marine and dedicated dad, died on Monday, January 18th of COVID-19 at the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air, MD. He was 88 and lived in Catonsville, MD.
Born in New Haven and raised in Connecticut, he was the son of Karl F. Heiser, a renowned psychologist, and Jennie Byers Heiser, an educational researcher and assessor.
Karl was a 1951 graduate of Riverdale Country School in The Bronx, NY. where he was a four-sport athlete on the football, basketball, track, and baseball teams. Karl was a captain and all-conference football player. One of his fondest memories as an athlete was Riverdale’s undefeated season in 1948. He went on to attend Wesleyan University for two years where he continued playing football and joined the Chi Psi fraternity.
He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1953, graduating with honors from recruit training and earned a promotion to Private First Class. He then completed Drill Instructor School and become a Drill Instructor at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, receiving meritorious promotion to Corporal in 1954. Lt. Col. Heiser had a successful twenty-two year career in the Marine Corps, completing tours and duty-related travel across the world, including two Mediterranean deployments, Wake Island, Guam, Japan, the Philippine Islands, Guantanamo Bay – Cuba, and Hawaii. He served as an Operations Officer from 1963-1964 at Camp Sukiran in Okinawa, Japan.
Karl married Nancy Ann Baron at the Camp Lejeune base chapel in 1966 and was a devoted husband for twenty-five years. Their first son, Karl Robert Baron Heiser, was born in 1969. He served as the Supply Force Logistics Command in Vietnam at Camp Books from 1969-1970. 1973 was filled with significant events: Karl and Nancy’s second son, William Lee, was born, Karl was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and he retired in 1973 after a distinguished military career. He went on to graduate from Bowie State University on the GI Bill and worked as a contractor for many years at various federal government agencies, including the National Weather Service.
He was a devoted father of Karl Heiser and Bill Heiser, father-in-law to Melanie Heiser and Tracy Cerrato, and brother of John V. Heiser and sister-in law Judy Heiser; cherished grandfather of Karl, Caleb, Owen, Caden, Conlan, and Eleanor. He was predeceased by his wife, Nancy A. Heiser, and grandson McKean.
Karl’s life was devoted to his family and country. He was an involved father who championed his sons’ participation in youth sports, particularly soccer. He raised his family in Bowie, serving on the local school PTA and coaching youth sports. Karl was an avid golfer after retirement, serving on the Board of Directors of the Rolling Road Golf Club. Karl most enjoyed attending his grandchildren’s sports games and various school activities. He was a longtime supporter of the men’s soccer team at Loyola University Maryland where his son, Bill, played.
He was a loving and supportive friend for over twenty-five years to Mary Helen Fraiji. They enjoyed time together, including spending time with Mary Helen’s son Lee, daughter-in-law Mary, and grandchildren Maddie and Elie.
Karl enjoyed classical music, eating out at restaurants, reading, stopping by to see his family, traveling, and following his beloved Red Sox. Karl proudly followed the mantra, “Once a Marine, always a Marine.” In fact, he enjoyed his time in the Marine Corps so much that he took a “cruise” on a container ship just a few years ago, traveling back to the Mediterranean and Europe. His dry sense of humor brought enjoyment and laughter to those who knew him well, and often even to those who did not know him well.
Due to COVID restrictions, the funeral service will be private to family.
In lieu of flowers, donations in his name may be made to:
Men’s Soccer Program at Loyola University Maryland
-Please click on this link: https://Loyola.edu/give
-Indicate that the gift is for Men’s Soccer in Memory of Lt. Col. Karl R. Heiser
Semper Fi & America’s Fund
-Please click on this link: https://semperfifund.org/donate/
-Indicate that the gift is a Tribute Gift in Memory of Lt. Col. Karl R. Heiser
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