SAMUEL H. HERON, 82, of North Branch, passed away Thursday, September 15, 2016, after a short stay at Wm Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak.
He was born on December 22, 1933 in Cass City, to Allen and Reita (Sharrard) Heron. He was a 1953 graduate of North Branch High School, playing football for the undefeated Broncos three years in a row. After graduation, he married his high school sweetheart, Donna B. Byers on October 24, 1953. Together they shared everything in nearly 63 years of marriage. Sam was drafted into the Army in 1955 and was honorably discharged six months later after a severe leg injury. Sam worked 17 years for Chaso Royco on the floor and then as foreman. In 1970, he became an insurance agent and worked in that industry 22 years, both for Farm Bureau Insurance and then as an independent agent and owner of Sam Heron Insurance in Lapeer. Sam may be best known as a consummate horseman, having horses from 1940 (age 7) until 2014 (age 81). He and his children showed Quarter Horses for over 30 years, having an AQHA national champion pleasure stallion, Lacy Reb Robin, in 1969. He raced Standard Bred Horses for over 26 years, having the Michigan State Champion 3-Year Old Colt, Scrappy Alex, in 2014. He served on the Lapeer County Sherriff’s Posse for 40 years and was a member of North Branch Wesleyan Church, where he was an avid athletic booster for North Branch Wesleyan Academy. He was also the sexton of Westlawn Cemetery in North Branch for 60 years. Among all these things, Sam’s favorite pastime was investing time loving and supporting his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren in all their endeavors!
Preceding him in death were his parents; his daughter, Jane Ann (1955); his son, Jan Alden (1989) and his brother Donald A Heron (2007).
Surviving him are his wife, Donna; two daughters, Jill Heron and Julie (David) Richardson, all of North Branch; two sons, Jeffery (Lois) Heron of Sioux Falls, SD, and Joel Heron of Greenville, MI; 11 grandchildren and their spouses and 20 great-grandchildren and two more on the way. Also surviving are two sisters, Audrey (Max) Seidel of Imlay City and Patricia (Glen) Sibley of Aurora, CO; brother, David Atwell of Tennessee.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be given to North Branch Area Schools Athletic Boosters; North Branch Wesleyan Youth Ministry or Global Partners.
A celebration of life service will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, September 18, 2016 at North Branch Wesleyan Church, with Pastor Peter Damaska officiating. The family will be receiving condolences one hour prior to the funeral at North Branch Wesleyan Church, 3164 North Branch Rd., North Branch. Burial will be at Westlawn Cemetery immediately following the funeral. Blackburn Chapel-Martin Funeral Home is serving the family, and memories and messages of condolence may be shared at www.blackburnchapel.com.