Rodney Leopold Heinze – Colonel, United States Marine Corps

From a contemporary press report

It was 1945 and the battle for Iwo Jima was raging.

Rodney L. Heinze was company commander of 200 marines on a mission to take over part of an airfield on the Pacific island.

After he was shot twice, soldiers told him to evacuate. But he refused and kept leading his troops into combat.

That experience earned him a Silver Star, but perhaps more important, guided his outlook for the rest of his life.

“After seeing so much destruction and soldiers being killed, he knew how to put things in perspective,” said his son, U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Dykstra Heinze. “There was nothing so critical to go to pieces on.”

Rodney Heinze went on to join the Marine Reserves, in which he served until 1965 and left with the rank of colonel. He co-owned a claims adjusting company in Mt. Clemens, which he helped run for 20 years.

On Saturday, Colonel Heinze died at his Chesterfield Township, Michigan, home after a battle with lung cancer. He was 77.

Born in Toledo, Ohio, he attended Wittenberg University in Ohio before joining the Marines. In addition to his Silver Star, he earned two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts.

He also served in the Korean War and left active duty in 1952 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

Colonel Heinze graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in journalism. He then went to work as an insurance adjuster for a company in Mt. Clemens, which he eventually co-owned.

The company was sold, and in the early 1970s he became regional insurance claims manager for the Detroit area office of Preferred Risk Mutual Insurance Company before retiring in the early 1990s.

He loved discussing history, politics and Detroit Tigers baseball.

Other survivors include a son, Kirk; daughters Karen, Denise and Diane Heinze, and Kris Marnon, Holly Wytka and Sarah McKay, and 10 grandchildren.

He will be buried at 9 a.m. May 14, 1998 with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.

From a contemporary press report: May 21, 1998

Colonel Rodney Leopold Heinze, 77, of Chesterfield Township, Michigan, formerly of Columbia, Missouri, died Saturday, May 2, 1998, at his home.

Services were held May 14, 1998 at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

Colonel Heinze was born August 20, 1920, in Toledo, Ohio, to Leopold and Ola Venora Heinze.

He married Miriam Keepers on June 14, 1946, in Columbia, and she preceded him in death.

He received a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. He was retired from the  Marines and served in World War II and the Korean War. He was awarded the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts.

He owned Wytliff-Heinze Claims Adjusting Co. for 20 years, later was regional insurance claims manager at Preferred Risk Mutual Insurance Co. and attended  First United Methodist Church, all in Mount Clemens, Michigan.

Survivors include two sons, Kirk Heinze of Mason, Michigan, and Dykstra Heinze on Mount  Pleasant, Michigan; six daughters, Karen Heinze of North Royalton, Ohio, Kris Marnon of Clyde,  North Carolina, Denise Heinze of Waynesville, North Carolina, Diane Heinze of Raleigh, North Carolina, and Holly Wytka and  Sarah McKay, both of Chesterfield Township; and 10 grandchildren.

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