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Obituary for David Heise, longtime teacher and coach in Winona

Posted: Monday, December 7, 2020 - 3:38 PM

David Roderick Heise, 77, of Winona, passed away Friday, November 20, 2020, at Benedictine Living Community-Winona. David was born October 12, 1943, in Winona to Dr. Herbert Von Rohr Heise and Mildred Roderick Heise.

David graduated from Winona Senior High School in 1961, where he excelled academically and was a standout All-Conference athlete in both basketball and baseball. He helped lead his team to a fourth place finish in the one-class Minnesota State Basketball Tournament (1961).

Following high school, David went on to St. Olaf College, earning a B.A. in Chemistry and Biology. While at St. Olaf, he played basketball and baseball for the Oles. His college highlight came when his basketball team won the MIAC Conference Title (1965). This was the school’s first championship since 1930.

After college graduation, David enrolled in medical school at the University of Minnesota. Feeling a tug to do something with his passion for math, he left medical school to pursue a Master’s degree in Mathematics at Winona State University. Upon completion of his M.S., David was hired to teach math at Winona Senior High School, a position he held most honorably for 47 years. Along with his teaching duties, David served in leadership positions on many district committees. He was a well-respected colleague and a most revered teacher.

David’s love of sports led him into the coaching arena at WSHS. He served in many coaching positions in baseball, basketball, and softball. He was twice honored as Big Nine Softball Coach of the Year. David was also active on many city league basketball teams, state championship fastpitch softball teams, and was an avid racquetball and Noon Ball player at the YMCA.

In 1971, David married his beloved Mary Guenther, and together they raised their daughter, Heather, the apple of his eye.

David will be remembered fondly for his love of classic movies, Golden Oldies music, and CCC (Chocolate Chip Cookies). But above all, he will be remembered as a loving and devoted husband and father, a dedicated an inspiring teacher and coach, and a humble gentleman.

David was a member of Central Lutheran Church and attributed any and all his success to PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) and an unwavering faith in God.

He is survived by his wife, Mary; daughter, Heather (Aaron Erdmanczyk), San Antonio, TX; mother-in-law, Gladys Guenther; sisters-in-law, Helga Heise, Seattle, WA; Margaret Guenther, Rochester, MN; Kathleen Boone, Lewiston, MN; Heidi Ryan (Dr. Richard Klich), Winona, MN; Kristin Bergaus (Andrew), Winona, MN; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and dear friends. He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, William; and father-in-law, Emil Guenther.

A celebration of life and interment will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be directed to Winona Area Public School Foundation/Girls’ Softball Fund, 1570 Homer Road, Winona, MN 55987. Services entrusted to Fawcett Junker Funeral Home & Crematory, Winona MN and Fountain City, WI. Online condolences may be left for the family at

Mary, Heather, and family would like to extend sincere appreciation to the staff at St. Anne’s for the compassionate care during David’s short time there.

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