David Dunstan Heck, 90, WWII vet, Department of Defense worker, accomplished jazz pianist

By on March 15, 2017

David Dunstan Heck, 90, passed peacefully on March 7, 2017 at Moravian Manor in Lititz, where he had been a resident since October 2015. Prior to that time, David and his wife resided in Morton, Delaware County, for 48 years.

He was born in 1926, in Lewistown, Mifflin County, to Leslie Shammo Heck and Irene Roper Heck. His three sisters predeceased him: Margaret Coolidge Means, Dorothy Kleckner Heck, and Barbara Jo Heck Brown. He was the last surviving member of his immediate family.

Dave graduated from Lewistown High School in 1943. He received a bachelor of science in education from West Chester State Teachers College in 1948. He later earned a master of political science from the University of Pennsylvania.

While at West Chester State Teachers College, he was a member and leader of the college swing band the Criterions. Dave was an ardent supporter of his alma mater and was a member of the Criterions Alumni Association, writing arrangements and playing in their annual concerts.

He was veteran of World War II, having enlisted in the Army Air Force.

He worked for both the Pennsylvania state government and the federal government as a personnel officer and administrative officer. Most of his federal agency experience was with the Department of Defense. He retired from the federal government in April 1989.

At that point, Dave was able to continue with his second career, that of writing and playing music. He was an accomplished jazz pianist and arranger, playing with and leading many groups in central and southeastern Pennsylvania. His most recent musical affiliation was with The Last Big Band, a 17-piece big band of musicians, many of whom were also members of the Criterions Alumni Association.

Dave is survived by his loving wife of 63 years: Doris Cortright Heck; daughter: Wendy Heck DiGiacomo; son-in-law: Eric DiGiacomo, Lititz; and granddaughters: Danielle and Alexandra DiGiacomo; son: Christopher James Heck; daughter-in-law: Joy Schoene Heck, Hockessin, Del.; and grandchildren: Emma and David Heck.

A celebration of Dave’s life will be held at Moravian Manor’s Steinman Hall, 300 W. Lemon St., Lititz, on Saturday, May 6, beginning at 2 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Caring Hospice Services, 101 Good Drive, First Floor, Lancaster, PA 17603.

Charles F. Snyder Jr. Funeral Home, Lititz, handled the arrangements. Online condolences may be offered at snyderfuneralhome.com.

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One Comment

  1. Carolyn Silvester

    March 17, 2017 at 7:53 am

    Doris, We enjoyed seeing Dave and you at the Criterion Reunions and when you visited Charleston. Tom especially enjoyed being able to play Dave’s arrangement of “But Beautiful” at one of the Reunion Concerts. Tom loved the CD “Heck Yeah” with Dave’s arrangements and I still enjoy it. My deepest sympathy to you and your family. Best wishes, Carolyn Silvester

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