Illinois pastor remembered for his ‘outpouring of love’; celebration of life to be live streamed

Bourbonnais, Illinois

Edward "Ed" Heck, senior pastor of Kankakee, Illinois, First Church of the Nazarene and an adjunct professor at Olivet Nazarene University, passed away September 6. He was 62. 

Cindi Schimmelpfennig, executive pastor of Family Life Ministries at Kankakee First Church, told the Daily Journal Heck helped coach his church's team to victory at the National Nazarene Softball Tournament September 5 in Springdale, Ohio. 

"He felt wonderful," she said. "He was staying overnight to rest for the trip home."

Heck, who was recently diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, became extremely ill that evening and died the next day after being admitted to the ICU, according to a Facebook post from the church. 

He became the senior pastor at Kankakee First Church in 2000.

"He really cared about the city of Kankakee and backed it up with action," said fellow Kankakee pastor Ken Tueck, who leads Life Compass Church. "He had an outpouring of love. Not just for the church but for humanity."

Heck was also an adjunct professor of leadership at his alma mater, Olivet Nazarene University. 

In 2014, Heck received a Ministerial "O" Award from the university. 

"Dr. Ed Heck is one who lives out what it means to be an Olivetian and a minister of the gospel," Olivet President John Bowling said in a 2014 press release about the award. "His service for our Lord in the global Church marks him as a good and faithful servant. This award is one small way to recognize the great impact of his dedicated service."

Heck previously served at churches in Morenci, Michigan; Flint, Michigan; Vicksburg, Michigan, and Vandalia, Ohio, and was the Chicago Central district secretary for 12 years. He served on the Future of the Church Commission for General Assembly, as well as on other boards and committees for the global Church of the Nazarene.

In addition to a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Literature from Olivet, he held a Master of Divinity from Nazarene Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary. 

He is survived by his wife, Kathleen, and a daughter, Alea. 

"Let me declare it while I still have the ability to do so: I am right with God, I am right with things, and I’ve put things right with others," Heck wrote in a blog post September 5.

Visitation for will be held September 16 at Kankakee First Church of the Nazarene from 3 to 8 p.m. A celebration of life service will be September 17 at Kankakee First Church of the Nazarene at 11 a.m. with General Superintendent David W. Graves officiating.

There will be no visitation on Saturday. The church will provide a lunch immediately following the celebration service for all in attendance. Interment rights will take place at a later time.

The Heck family asks that family and friends wear cheerful clothing to the celebration service. To watch the celebration of life service via live streaming, click here.

Prayer is requested for the Heck and Kankakee First Church families.