The wedding portrait of Frank and Alice Heydinger on June 17, 1940, a Tuesday. People married midweek back then. Shown in the picture are (L. to R.) Frank's two younger brothers, Raymond (Bunks) and Clement (Nick), then Frank and Alice, and as bridesmaid Alice's younger sister Alma and her brother Richard, who would later die in the Solomon Islands during WWII.


The Frank Otto Heydinger Family Site


This picture dates from about 1944 and shows Frank in his barber shop, dressed like a surgeon, ready to operate upon a customer fully reclined in the barber chair.

Created by Mike Heydinger on October 1, 2009      

Frank Otto Heydinger was born on January 4, 1914, the middle child of August and Mayme Wechter Heydinger at their home on Auburn Center Road in Auburn Township. He was baptized two days later in Mother of Sorrows Church at North Auburn with his godfather being Otto Heydinger, Peter’s son. Hence Frank’s middle name, though there is some controversy over the correct spelling – Otto or Ott. Over the years, Frank demurred and simply signed everything Frank O. Heydinger. Frank’s childhood was normal for farm children of his time.

He was protected until age five, when the family moved to the Fisher farm on present State Route 103, a farm later purchased by Herbert “Whitey” Heydinger. Frank’s earliest recollections, among others, are of moving day and riding the horse drawn wagon down the road to the new home. Later, horses again played a role when he found himself at age six atop a horse while his dad walked behind plowing the field. Franks job was to guide the horse, especially on the turns. Horses once more figured in his early memories as the family hitched up either the sleigh or buggy, depending upon the weather, to attend Mass around the corner at Mother of Sorrows Church. Not until 1920 did a horseless buggy arrive on the family farm, a Model-T ford.

His carefree childhood ended for good when, as a six year old, his obtained his first job at thrashing time - to carry water from the cool basement out to the field where the farmers were laboring. Except that day he accidentally picked up a jug of corn cider which all the farmers – except his dad – got into good. An hour later, when everyone was squatting around back of the straw stack and work was halted, Gus discovered the problem and someone’s little tail was walloped good. So much for innocence! He attended the two-room elementary school at Mother of Sorrows and survived the best that the Franciscan ladies threw at the kids in those days. When in the eighth grade, he won the local religion quiz contest, was presented with a five dollar gold piece, and decided that he had a vocation to the priesthood. So at age 14, he left home in the fall of 1929 and traveled to western Indiana to St. Joseph’s, a college preparatory high school and seminary founded by the Society of the Precious Blood in 1888 at Rensselaer, Indiana. From its founding until 1896, the school also educated up to 60 American Indian boys annually.

There he maintained average grades, suffering through three years of Latin, Greek, and all those other subjects necessary to form good priests, until the seminary part of the college abruptly closed. He was then sent to a former Jesuit preparatory school, Assumption College in Windsor, Ontario, to finish his high school preparation for seminary college training. That senior year was filled with both high school and college courses under the tutelage of the Basilian Fathers. (If the order sounds unfamiliar, that’s because most of its work today focuses on Central and South America where the order operates schools and still promotes vocations to the priesthood.) At Assumption, Frank was introduced to ice hockey, basketball (they still used peach baskets in a gymnasium with a roof support column right in the middle of the court), and that strangest of hybrid sports, Canadian football. He enjoyed and survived them all, with all his teeth intact, as well as completing his studies, but at the end of the year he collected his diploma and headed home for good, his formal education complete.

The middle of the Great Depression was not a good time to leave school, so he remained home to help on the family farm. His brother Nick was still in high school in New Washington, so during the winter Frank accompanied Nick up to Buckeye Central where he played basketball with the team, as they were short players that year. Winter turned into spring and Frank could see the handwriting on the wall. With two older brothers, he could see that there was not enough land for him to marry and settle into the area. So he departed the farm in the fall of 1934 for Cleveland where he attended barber school to learn a trade. Upon completion of his course work and apprenticeship, he left the school, returned home, and became the first of his family to leave farm life.

He went to Norwalk and lived with his widowed Aunt, Josephine Fries, his mother’s sister, and also his bachelor uncle, Linus Wechter, who was then also living with ‘Phine. From 1936 on he practiced his trade in Norwalk, beginning first with the back chair at Cook’s Cigar, CAndy, and Barber Shop on the site of the present Berry’s restaurant in downtown Norwalk. He enjoyed the carefree life of an unattached bachelor boy in those years prior to WWII, running with crowds of other carefree twenty-somethings, none of whom could afford to marry because of the Depression. It was during this time of freedom that he became active in the Knights of Columbus, much later serving as Grand Knight in the early ‘50s and helping to move a barn that still serves as part of the K of C clubhouse in Norwalk. At one of their functions, he met the lass who would later become his wife, Alice Parsons, who also had been working as a seamstress in a tailor shop in Norwalk ever since her graduation in 1933 from Norwalk St Paul High School, the first in her family to complete twelve years of education. Her employer was a German Jew, Joseph Stutzman who had the prescience to see where Hitler’s Germany was headed and emigrated to America. So the transplanted North Auburn lad attended Mass at St. Paul’s Church in Norwalk, met a local gal, and the two dated and ran with the crowds for about four years until such time as they could save up a nest egg to marry and begin their connubial bliss in the black.

The courtship was typical of the 30’s; however, one evening Frank stood up Alice on a date. Upon arriving very late at the Parson’s home, he was told by his future father-in-law who met him at the porch, “I wouldn’t go in there if I was you!” pointing to the living room door where his livid daughter was waiting. Frank’s offense? He had been presented that afternoon with an opportunity to purchase the barber shop and business in which he had been working. Since the price was right, he immediately went to the bank and withdrew all the money saved up for the wedding, signed the papers, and became instant owner of his own business. Just like that, an entrepreneur, but almost decapitated with a roller pin. Alice settled down and eventually the two married on June 17, of 1940.

The first child arrived in 1942, just as WWII was heating up in earnest for America. The new family started in a rented upstairs apartment in town, and as two more children arrived in the next two years, Frank always managed to stay one child ahead of the draft board. The family moved to a rented home on East Main Street, still in town though, but in biking distance of Frank’s shop. Auto shortages and wartime gasoline rationing kept most people living in town. With the war completed, Frank and Alice celebrated with another child and then had to move one last time, this time outside the city limits on East Main in an area that reminded Frank of his own growing up. He had his acre of land, garden space galore to feed the family, two chicken coops full of birds and eggs, and plenty of room for a dog. A pasture full of cattle lay to the west of his property, owned by the local butcher, and a woods completed the surrounding area to the north and east. This was living!

There the family prospered, ushering in the 50’s with two more children. The house was remodeled to fit the family, but that was it for kids.

As the children began leaving home in the 60’s, Frank continued barbering and running his garden. Alice continued her canning and freezing of all the garden produce as if her brood was still lined up around the kitchen table. Frank rediscovered fishing, but only from land or on the ice as he could not afford a boat. He saw his children educated as far as they wanted to go, gradually married them off, though he buried one son, Joe, who was killed in Vietnam. When the last of the children was married off, the two continued living in the large farm house, always welcoming the children and grandchildren home, and keeping the upstairs free for their return. The home was always filled at holiday seasons with laughter and good cheer, the smells of baking pies and roasting turkeys, and the tables groaning with food and surrounded by family and whatever other relatives had no place to go on Christmas.

The 70’s and 80’s continued in their unabated pace, until suddenly the building Frank had rented for his business since the late 30’s was sold out from under him. His partnership with a beautician who rented the back part of the same shop, Emma Schnurr, was thereby terminated, and prospects looked bleak until he found a chair to rent in another established shop in town, the Linwood Barber Shop. He could have opened a shop in the side room of his home but rejected that idea as too many of his customers were elderly and by then could not drive that extra distance. So he continued barbering a few more years there until he hung it up after fifty plus years of shearing, shaving, and snipping. He and Alice then set out to see what they could of the rest of the country and Canada. The two took trips with various of his brothers and sister until that day when Alice was diagnosed with breast cancer. From that moment on, Frank devoted his time to caring for her and seeing her through her final illness. They celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in June of 1990, and Alice died at the end of that July. Not one to remain depressed or inactive, Frank then began small service oriented tasks such as delivering meals on wheels, helping put on the weekly spaghetti dinners at the K of C, and taking communion to the shut-ins. In between he did manage trips to Europe, one to Switzerland and Germany, the other to the UK, with the Golden Agers. He served on the board of the St. Paul Credit Union, but avoided bingo like the plague. Alice’s weekly attendance and gambling he had always encouraged but drew the line there for himself.

In his mid-eighties, Frank’s knees began to give out, probably from all the standing at a barber chair, but he always maintained it was from his praying and football days. Who knows? He had the replacement surgery and learned that he would never be able to kneel on the knee again. He thus averred that he would not continue to live in the big house if he could not get down on the ground and do his gardening and keep the flowerbeds neat. So he sold the house, held an auction on all the household goods, and moved into assisted living in Norwalk at the Carriage House. There he enjoyed getting out to church, accepting visitors, assembling puzzles, playing poker with his buddies at the K of C, visiting his nearby children, and continuing a life-long avocation - cursing the Indians of Cleveland and the Browns. Not much for basketball was he, so he generally avoided watching the Cavs. Professional basketball was nothing but "charging," as he called it, a far cry from the days when he played in high school and outside shooting was the norm. He often told of his high point game, six whole points - and only two of them were off fouls.

In 2010 Frank began suffering more and more from congestive heart failure and kidney failure. His diabetes he kept under control by strictly adhering to his diet - including giving up his beer - and self administering his daily shots. That he did not pass away sooner of rusty needles and inconsistent dosages from poor eyesight is a miracle. But that was his stubborn self. He insisted upon remaining on his own at the Carriage House and maintaining his independence. He surrendered his car grudgingly, having driven until age 95, and then allowed himself to be chauffeured where he needed to go, mostly to the bank or church or his favorite stores, Aldi's and the drug stores. During this time his only complaint was that he could not make daily Mass at St. Paul's, the church where he was married, baptized all his children, and eventually was buried from.

Frank finally passed away on June 9, 2012, at the Stein Hospice facilities in Sandusky OH after spending just about a week under their care. He was buried beside his wife Alice and son Joe at St. Paul's Cemetery after a Mass presided over by his godson, Fr. Frank Kehres. He had always said he did not want to live to be 100, but toward the end, as his health generally remained sound and his mind sharp, his children thought he secretly wanted to catch his sister Geneva who had passed at 102. That was not to be, depsite his daily exercising on his bike and watching his diet and weight. Imagine, counting calories at age 98!!!

HELP!!! We need your HELP!!!

Posted by Mike Heydinger on October 15, 2009      

This is YOUR FAMILY WEBSITE. It will be successful only if YOU contribute. You do NOT have to be computer savy to help out. Contact us, and we'll git'er done!

We need Current Contact Information.

In order to keep all folks fully informed, we need CURRENT CONTACT INFORMATION: street addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses.

Contact your siblings, your children away from home, your folks - anyone in the relation - to email us their current contact information. Send it to me at

If you are more comfortable with snail-mail, send any information to me at Mike Heydinger Box 112 Huron, OH 44839.

We need Family History Data.

Also, we would like to do a full page here of information on each branch of the original John Heydinger family. We will post histories of each branch, pictures as far back as we can get them, and any other interesting data about the branches - whatever YOU think ought to be up on the site. We ask you to send us digital files if possible. If you are not computer savy and still wish to make a contribution of materials to this site, please email us and we can arrange to either come to you or have materials shipped to us for scanning and then return to you.

PLEASE - on all pictures, identify each person with a recognizable face. If known, indicate the year and place the picture was taken. Protect your valuable pictures and documents with cardboard stiffeners!

We need Current Family Tree Information.

If you go to the FAMILY GENEALOGY TREE in the column to the right, you can open it by clicking on the RED words This Family Tree and locate your immediate family's limbs, branches, and twigs on the family tree.

The further back you go, the more accurate the information actually is. What we need most is more MODERN up-to-date information.

Locate your part of the family's information and update it for us, PLEASE. Email to us the new and improved data. Don't worry about formating the data. Just give us the names and important dates, tell us what generation they are in and under whose name they should go. Generation numbers are included just to the LEFT of each name.

In order to have the NEW information included in the revised tree, you MUST get it to us. We will maintain the original document in order to guarantee security. Sorry!