WEST YORK, Pa. - Ronald Heist, 71, was murdered on Sunday March 20. Though they will never forget the tragic way he died his family, friends and colleagues honored the way he lived.
Heist was a Marine. He spent 29 years as a York City Police Officer and then, 15 as a Park Ranger. Most recently, he was a security officer with Schaad Detective Agency. He was working for them when he was shot at the Fort Littleton toll plaza.
”Here was a gentleman who served for a very long time and should have been at a point in his life where he didn’t have to worry about those things, but unfortunately it found him. He did his job honorably that day," said York City Police Chief Wes Kahley.
"I couldn’t believe it. I just with all the years of experience and so forth and all the years he had I just didn’t think, he can’t deserve something like this," said his friend and former colleague Dennis Smith.
Smith gave the eulogy at his memorial. He remembers his sense of humor and how friendly he was. His other friends say he loved food, dogs and his family.
He leaves behind his wife of 38 years, his sons, grandchildren and two great children, but also a legacy of always being willing to serve.
He was one of the first K-9 officers in York City. A few dogs were among the many who honored him Saturday. He was cremated.
People who attended would like to see a memorial for Heist and the other victim, Danny Crouse, at the Fort Littletown toll plaza. Chief Kahley says though he didn't know Crouse he would like to know more about him. He acted like a hero that day.
Heist will also be added to those honored on Officer Memorial Day, May 15.