GARY JAY HEIDELGARY JAY HEIDEL JUNE 1, 1940-MAY 2, 2016 The family of Gary Heidel, formerly of Honolulu, sadly announces his peaceful passing, on the Heidel Homestead in Castleford, Idaho. Born in Lewiston, Idaho, to Earl and Katherine Heidel, Gary's family moved to the family farm in Castleford, where he graduated from high school as class president and captain of both the football and basketball teams. In school band and choral programs, he found a deep passion and talent for music. At the University of Idaho, Gary majored in Music and played banjo at Shakey's Pizza Parlor. He graduated with a degree in Choral Conducting and Voice, taught voice and guitar in Coos Bay, Oregon and entertained in San Francisco night clubs. Just as his group, The Omegas, signed a recording contract with RCA Victor, Uncle Sam called. Gary received honors in training, then was sent to Heidelberg, Germany, where he was assistant conductor/soloist/arranger with the Seventh Army Soldiers' Chorus, which won the International Choral Festival in Wales. He also sang with the Mannheim Opera Company, and taught math and music at an Air Force school in England. After Army service, he returned to the University of Idaho, where he earned a Master's degree in Voice and Choral Conducting and was Instructional Assistant in the Music Department. In 1974, he accepted Punahou School's offer to teach choral music. In 13 years at Punahou, he taught general music and guitar, conducted choral groups for Grades 8-12 (including providing music for Chapel services in coordination with his brother, Chaplain John Heidel), directed and arranged musical productions and graduation music, and arranged a wealth of Hawaiian music (some still being performed). He also had several solo roles with the Hawaii Opera Theatre. He left Punahou in 1987, deeply loved by his students and highly respected by his colleagues. Some 25 years later, a group of his former students traveled to Idaho from around the nation to serenade him. Gary moved to Phoenix and wrote country/western music, then moved back to the family farm in 1989. Active in the community, his major contribution was creating, arranging and conducting the annual Christmas Cantata. Gary is survived by his brother John (Marian) of Kailua; sister Judy (Reva) of Bliss, Idaho; sister Peggy Gordon (Bob) of Kaneohe; Hawai'i nephews/niece Eric, Kevin and Melody, and two nieces on the mainland. Celebration of Gary's Life at 1 pm, July 9 at Punahou's Thurston Memorial Chapel. Donations honoring Gary's choral legacy may be made to Punahou School.
Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased