Edward Hanes Heber

March 27, 1917February 17, 2012

Ed was born in Taber, Alberta Canada, the second of 4 children of Rose and Charles Heber. His parents moved to Canada from Illinois to homestead.

They fell on hard times in Canada, so when Ed was just about 6 years old, the family moved to the Portland area, and settled in the Lents District.

He graduated from Lents Elementary School and Franklin High School.

He worked in the grocery business for about 5 years before he was drafted into the Army Air Force in 1942.

He was stationed at Scott Field in Missouri, where he received training to become a radio code and radar instructor. It was in St. Louis that he met Marcella (Sally as she was known in Portland) Otto. They were both on The Admiral Riverboat Cruise. She was there with her brother and was actually engaged to someone else at the time, so Ed must have made quite the impression as they married 2 years later in 1944.

After completing his training, he was transferred to Mississippi and then Florida, so the newly-married couple headed out on their army life.

After 4 years in the service, Ed was honorably discharged in 1946. He, and his bride, returned to Portland to be near his family.

Of course, after being away for 4 years, and with a new wife to support, he needed to find a way to make a living. With “major help from his Dad” as he describes it, he and his brother Fred (Bus) opened a grocery store, and Heber Brothers Market was born.

Shortly after opening the Grocery Store, the first of their 4 children, Janice, arrived.

Three years later, they expanded the building and added a Hardware Store. Bus operated the Hardware business, while Ed kept the grocery store going.

Shortly after the Hardware expansion, Ed and Sally expanded their family as well, and their second child, Bill, made his debut.

Over the years, both the grocery and hardware businesses hummed smoothly along, and with the arrival of a third child, Karen, they needed a larger home. They found a lot, and Ed’s father built a house. They moved into their new home in December of 1955, which is where he lived the remainder of his life.

Their fourth child, Joan, finally arrived made her debut some years later. In 1978, stiff competition from the major supermarket chains caused them to make the difficult decision to close the grocery business. Heber Brothers Hardware, however, continued in business for another 10 years.

In 1988, keep in mind Ed was 71 and Bus was 74, they finally sold the hardware business, and both retired. Unfortunately, the new owner’s business failed and closed 3 years later, so they then sold the property.

Over the 42 years they were in business, the store had become “a fixture” in the community and closing it down was a big loss. Many of the neighbors and regular patrons became like extended family.

Throughout those years, the 4 kids grew up, married and had children of their own. Ed and Sally had 5 grandchildren, Jennifer, Stefanie, Michelle, Kaitlyn and Kyle, and 3 great grandchildren, Abigail, Ava and Cole.

The information above is just the chronology of his life . . . the facts, the benchmarks and the milestones. But, it doesn’t really tell you much about who Ed Heber was as a person.

For those who knew Ed Heber, a couple words come to mind . . .

• Hard Working • Family oriented

Also, there was a prevailing common thread that was woven throughout everything he did, and it seemed to be a philosophy or an attitude from which he approached life. That is his sense of Responsibility.

The definition of Responsibility reads.

“Taking ownership of a particular burden or obligation. Reliability or dependability, especially in meeting debts or payments”

Throughout his life, you can say one thing about Ed Heber. He worked --- a lot.

The grocery store hours of operations were 9am to 9pm - 7 days a week. He was often the one there during all those hours. He had a few part time employees over the years, but once each of his kids was big enough to lift a box of canned goods, he had them working in the store putting out freight, and then as they got older, they graduated to working the cash register. The kids sometimes wondered if the reason Ed and Sally had four children was to make sure they had enough workers for the store.

At home, you can imagine with a house to maintain and 4 kids, there were plenty of chores to keep him busy when he wasn’t at work. Anyone would be hard pressed to recall a time where he just sat around and relaxed. If he was home, he was tinkering on a project or fixing something.

He always had a list of chores that needed attending to, and he would start work either indoors or outdoors, depending on the weather. During his retirement, he treated his list of chores like a job. Starting a 9am, breaking for lunch, and quitting in time for dinner at 6pm, there would always be a project that needed his attention.

Ed was very frugal. His motto was “don’t pay for anything that you can do yourself”. You can imagine, that growing up during the depression, wasting anything was not an option, and he certainly was not going to pay a repairman or buy something that he could fix or make himself. This could be where “The Chore List” came from. Bill, as the only son, got pulled into many of his projects as a way to pass on the “tinkerer’s skill” although they didn’t always agree on how to approach the project. In keeping with his commitment not to be wasteful, anything that was broken or rotten at the store came home and was put to good use. The fruits and vegetables that became too old or discolored to sell at the store, somehow found their way to the family dinner table. The kids all joked, that they were all teenagers before they knew that bananas were actually yellow – not brown. Sally became really good at making banana bread.

He was intent on teaching his kids responsibility . . . both fiscally and personally. They each worked at the store. That was their “allowance” It was not a choice, it is what was expected. As mentioned earlier, once each child was big enough to lift a box of canned goods, they were employed. He paid them, of course, but then they also had expenses that were to be paid as well. It was a great lesson in financial responsibility. Each child learned about how money comes in, and money goes out.

He warned his kids against the temptation of credit. “If you can’t pay for it outright, don’t buy it” Ed didn’t believe in using a credit card except for emergencies.

As his kids grew up, they were better able to understand his frugalness. He was building security for his family. He needed to save for his retirement, but also wanted to build a fund to help his kids get started in their lives. Consistent with his sense of teaching them responsibility, there were loans for each child to help them get started purchasing their first house, but the loans came with contracts and interest to be paid. Eventually, however, most of it was gifted to them over the years, but it was just another lesson in responsibility.

Ed’s sense of responsibility extended beyond his family. It also extended to those who needed his friendship. There was a young man who was mentally challenged that came into the store on a regular basis. He didn’t have a lot of friends, as few people took the time to spend with him. Ed, even though he was running his store, would stop what he was doing and visit with him. Ed made him feel that like he had a friend.

There was another mentally challenged young man that went to high school with Karen. He was quite amazing about how he could remember everyone’s telephone number. He was literally like a walking telephone directory. The kids at school often made fun of Rick and as a prank, would give your telephone number to Rick. Rick would then call you every night to ask you “who is popular”. Once Rick started calling you, you were stuck taking his call every night from then on. Someone gave Karen’s number to Rick, and he started calling the house. Long after Karen graduated from High School and left home, Rick continued to call Ed. They developed a friendship, and Rick came by to deliver a Christmas gift last year.

With all his work and chores, one might think he didn’t have a lot of fun or enjoyment in his life.

Well, he had a few interests and activities that he enjoyed and most all of them involved family.

Snow skiing is something he started when he was young with his brother, Bus, and sister, Alieen, and it is an activity he enjoyed throughout his life. He actually continued to ski up into his 70’s. When his kids got gold enough, he taught them, and even Sally, at age 44, to ski. Sundays, during the winter months, were days the family went to Government Camp for a day of skiing. The whole family included family, aunts, uncles, cousins. It was great fun for everyone and great memories.

There were also family clamming trips to Long Beach, WA and three-day stays at the Kah-nee-ta resort, again with the whole Heber Clan.

He loved to go for drives and explore. Every one of the Heber kids has a very poor sense of direction. It has long been suspected that it was because he never took the same route twice to any destination as they were growing up. Ed said that he was exploring! But looking back now, one might wonder. Perhaps the kids actually inherited the poor sense of direction from him, and he wasn’t as much of an explorer, but rather lost. It was years before any of the kids could figure out how to get to Aileen’s house.

There weren’t a lot of vacations during his working years, but once he retired, he actually bought a pickup truck and travel trailer and talked Sally into taking some road trips. I don’t think that lasted too long, as Sally wasn’t so keen on the trailer life. So they started traveling without the camper, weekends to the coast, staying at Indio every year, and even took a couple cruises.

One of his favorite pastimes was fishing with his brother, Bus and brother-in-law John. Janice actually joined in on a couple of the fishing trips as well. He had built a boat in a shed behind his father’s house. Once a year, usually in August, they would head for the coast and go salmon fishing. One had to be very brave to take that trip. The boat was called “Long Comin', but it should have been called “Not Coming”, “Never Coming” or maybe even “Don’t Count on me Coming”. It often broke down and left them stranded. They would end up needing a tow back to the marina. Those fishing trips always ended up with some story around the dinner table about “Towing Daddy”. And, of course, repairing the boat for the next trip was just another one of his chores to add to his list.

During his working years, he didn’t have a lot of time to spend with his children, but he certainly enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren.

As a babysitting duo, Sally tended to the meals, bath time, etc., while Ed was the No. 1 playmate. There was a time you could walk into the house and find Ed, sitting in the chair in the family room with his hair full of hair bands, bows and clips, while holding a teacup in his hands. He was multi-tasking by being both the client for Jennifer as she played beauty parlor and the customer for Stef while she played restaurant. With all the grandkids, he played countless games of Strawberry Shortcake, Candy Land, Shoots and Ladders and pushed kids on swings until, his arms fell off.

He taught them a few things as well. He liked to share corny jokes with the grandkids. A few of his old “standbys” are “What did the monkey say when be backed into the lawn mower?” . . . “it won’t be long now!” “Why did the bird sit on the telephone wire?” . . . “he wanted to make a long-distance call”.

And it is certain that Ed’s grandkids are the only people in their generation that know the words to the old song, “Mares Eat Oats and Does Eat Oats and Little Lambs eat Ivy”

It is not hard to see evidence of his work ethic and his commitment to family. But nothing speaks to his deep sense of responsibility more than how he cared for Sally throughout her illness. It was just a year ago that she passed. They were married 67 years, and as you may know, she suffered from Alzheimer’s. She needed 24/7 care and even more patience. Even when she didn’t know who he was and resisted much of his care, he stayed right by her side doing everything he could to care for her . . . for almost 20 years through her illness. It had to be difficult for him . . . definitely a burden, but he never, ever complained. He always stayed positive and he always upheld his responsibility . . . When he said “until death do us part”, he meant it.

It is our hope that you have gained a bit of insight into the person Ed Heber was, and hopefully, learned some fun stories to remember about him.

His Work Ethic gave him Purpose

His sense of Responsibility gave him Direction

But his Family was his Life

There is a quote from that is very appropriate. It comes from Thomas Merton, a Catholic writer and mystic.

“Every moment and every event of every man's life on earth plants something in his soul”.

If that is true, Ed, you have built a very lovely garden. The fruits of which will be enjoyed by those you have touched for generations.

Arrangements under the direction of Lincoln Memorial Funeral Home, Portland, OR.


  • Funeral Service Saturday, February 25, 2012
  • Committal Service Monday, February 27, 2012

Edward Hanes Heber

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Bob & Trudy Wojciechowski

February 26, 2012

Our deepest sympathy to all of you - Janice, Bill,Karen and Joan.

Bob & Joyce Stockert

February 24, 2012

Our deepest sympathy, Bill, Eileen and family. Our prayers and thoughts are with you at this time.