Nature 33

Brian Ward Heap

March 4, 1949 ~ May 18, 2020 (age 71)


Brian Ward Heap passed away on Monday, May 18, 2020 in Snowflake, Arizona, after suffering with dementia for a relatively short time. Brian was born on March 4, 1949, to Harbon and Vera Heap of St. Johns, Arizona, and was the oldest of seven children. Brian spent his early life in St. Johns working on the family ranch and dreaming of flying airplanes, which he got to do for a short time in his early life. In 1968, Brian served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Denmark and kept in touch with friends he made there throughout his life.

Brian married Marcia Greenwood in 1970 and they eventually ended up returning to St. Johns to raise their family of seven children. He worked as a heavy equipment operator but loved spending his free time exploring the White Mountains. He passed his love of nature on to his children as they were taught to camp, fish, hunt, and experience the great outdoors. More than once Brian was given an injured bird to rehabilitate having developed a reputation for his birding skills.

In 2006, Brian met and married Shirley Ann Rathjen of Tempe, Arizona, and the couple split their time between Tempe and their place in Luna, New Mexico. Brian grew to love Luna and the friends he made there. He loved hiking various areas around Luna with his little dog, Max, and enjoyed spotting local wildlife.

A man of too many hobbies to name just one. Brian loved building model semi-trucks and airplanes and was is modelling magazines several times for his scratch built hauling trailers. He was a founding member of the White Mountain Model Railroad Club and completed several model railroad layouts throughout his lifetime. As if that wasn’t enough to fill his time, he was also an avid birdwatcher and fisherman, he flew model airplanes, shot black power pistols and rifles, carved wood figurines, collected antique tractors, and judged the chickens at county fairs.

Brian is survived by his siblings, his wife, Shirley Rathjen, his children, Klint (Amber) Heap, Scott (Mary Jane) Heap, Ben (Kathryn) Heap, Tyler Heap, Jennifer (James) Hammond, Brock (L’Erin) Heap, Barry Heap and his many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Brian is loved and missed but through the grace and mercy of our Savior, Jesus Christ, we know that we too will pass on to a place of love and peace where eternal bonds are possible and we will see Brian again.

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