Willy Heinzmann of Manchester, Conn., died on Sept. 23, 2017, at the age of 59.
Willy was born on Jan 2, 1958, to Jean Raymond Heinzmann and John D. Heinzmann in Middletown, Conn. He was number four of five brothers in the family at that time and a most welcome addition. For five months he was growing slowly but the family was not informed of his Down Syndrome until then. At first a feeling of dismay was felt by the family which was overcome as the true joy that was to come from his presence became obvious.
Willy had the chance to enter the Kensington Day Care Center five days a week which he enjoyed until he had a problem at home competing with his four brothers. He was admitted to the Mansfield Training School in June 1963. He remained there until 1966 when he was transferred to the Hartford Regional Center in Newington, Conn. There he learned many important life skills. The family decided that he was ready and would be better served living at home. This was a good move and he attended Berlin Public Schools for 11 years.
In 1980 Willy moved into a group home called “His Dwelling Place” in East Hampton, Conn. While there he worked at the Kuhn Center in Middletown and Meriden. After a stint living at New England Residential Services and Porter’s Pass CLA he moved to MARC in Manchester where he was cared for in various Group homes until his death.
He had a good life. It seemed that he always had a girlfriend. Once, when he was booted out by a girl, he just said “there are plenty of fish in the sea.” His presence almost always commanded peace and harmony; except when he lost in a parlor game.
He participated in many Special Olympic competitions, particularly horseback riding and swimming, performed well in all and proudly collected numerous medals. He loved playing piano, guitar and harmonica, and listening to Shania Twain, and Carrie Underwood, and adding on his calculator.
His last days were spent at a MARC group home where he died peacefully.
He will be dearly missed by all who knew him.
A ceremony to remember his life will be held Oct. 26 at 10 a.m., Bldg 151 of MARC on Sheldon Street in Manchester.