MATTOON -- Dorothy Joan Heller died at her home in Clearwater, Florida on July 24, 2019. She was 88.
Jo was known for her determination to get things done and done well. Nothing was impossible for her. This ability and willingness to take on any challenge led her to numerous leadership roles in the community including serving as an Elder of the First Presbyterian Church; being elected to the Community Unit No. 2 School Board, volunteering as a Cub Scout Den Mother and a Girl Scout Leader, helping found a local P.E.O. Chapter, and working as a substitute teacher. Even beyond the classroom, at her core she was always a teacher, instilling in everyone who was part of her life the desire to be the best they could be.
Her greatest joy was spending time with her family and friends. She was a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother, and a true and loyal friend to many.
Born on August 1, 1930 to Charles Alexander and Ruth Ceruti Mercier in Bloomington, Illinois, Jo was raised in Normal, Illinois and attended University High School. She began her undergraduate studies at Illinois State University and earned her bachelor's degree in education from Eastern Illinois University graduating with highest honors. In 1950, she married Harlan Heller, a marriage lasting 69 years.
She was preceded in death by her parents and her brothers, Charles Alexander (Portia) Mercier, Jr.; Edward Burton Ceruti (Mary Lou) Mercier; and her sisters, Mary Ruth (James) Turner; and Jean Mercier.
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She is survived by her husband, her children, Harlan Kent (Lori) Heller of Mattoon, Illinois; Jan Heller (James) Ramsey of Nashville, Tennessee; Mark Alan (Debra) Heller of Charleston, Illinois; and Nancy Lynn Heller of Louisville, Kentucky, her grandchildren, Jennifer Anne Hobbs; Nicholas John (Michele) Heller; Michael Mark Heller; Kristofer Kent Heller; Caroline Mercier Ramsey (Jeffrey) Rossini; Catherine Ramsey (Timothy) Schulte; Thomas Mark (Julie) Heller; David Matthew (Nikki) Heller; Sarah Lynn Heller (Chris) Webb; Heather Michelle Dettro (Adam) Felton; Stephanie Ruth Dettro (Kinley) Kisselbaugh; and Kyle Mark Dettro; nine great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
A memorial service celebrating Jo's life will be held on Saturday, August 17, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church. The family will receive guests at a reception in Fellowship Hall following the service.
Her ashes will be interred at a private service at Park Hill Cemetery in Bloomington, Illinois.
The family extends their sincere gratitude to the dedicated caregivers who cared for Jo in her home during her extended illness.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to First Presbyterian Church, 10 Charleston Avenue, Mattoon, IL, 61938 or to the charity of one's choice.