Thanks to the over 500 people who attended the services to show support for the family and pay last respects to Hans. There were so many that it was standing room only in the Squaw Peak Pointe Hilton Ballroom even though we had 300 seats set up. We ran out of the printed announcements so here are the text and pictures for those that could not take one home.
A brief History of Hans Heydrich with a lot left out
Hans was born in Bregenz, Austria to Fred and Inge Heydrich. The family moved to Adelaide, Australia when he was seven years old (his brother Pete and sister Annie still live in Australia). So the stage was set for him to meet Meng Choo who was sent there for high school and college. While still studying engineering at Adelaide University, Hans and Meng were married. Frank and Su Ling proved the pair was viable and the chance to move to the U.S.A. came when Boeing hired Hans as the top graduate of his class. While the family was living in Seattle, Washington, little Lea joined the litter. Well that about did it for Hans? dreams of flying and following in the footsteps of his grandfather the zeppelin pilot and his own father the Luftwaffe fighter pilot and test pilot. After the "great lights out" economic disaster at Boeing in 1970, the family found itself in Columbus, Indiana where Hans became an expert in reciprocating internal combustion engines (they go up and down) while working for Cummins Diesel Engine Co. To satisfy his flying interests, Hans began building and flying RC model airplanes many of which won contests (while sadly some were converted into a loud "thud"). Many enduring friendships were formed during the eight years Hans was a Hoosier.
In 1978, Hans moved the family to Phoenix with a job at Garrett AirResearch to work on a strange engine having both pistons and turbines. He soon transitioned into a fully functional Turbine Engine Engineer (turbine engines go round and round until they go "boom"). Since then Hans has made a few more friends, got a few patents and gained the respect of many while developing advanced-technology engines. Garrett changed names annually until deciding "Honeywell" had a nice ring to it. Hans also found a way to fly without reducing the family to water rations. He discovered hang gliders and set about expanding the expectations of what could be done in one. Flying with the likes of Bob Thompson and Jim Grissom, Hans had many adventures and record setting flights. These guys would drop out of the hot desert sky wearing snowmobile suits on unsuspecting ranchers and golf course operators and try to convince them that they had just flown over 200 miles at 18,000ft and they needed a beer to rehydrate.
Hans managed to barely escape death a couple of times while hang gliding but he was left with reduced mobility from the extra titanium in his shoulders. Since the kids were all grown, he could now afford a fiberglass sailplane that was safer to fly with his shoulder injury. Later, he discovered if you do not give them adequate landing space they make a similar but more expensive "thud" than his model airplanes. Hans was never one to be discouraged by the fact that in the ongoing battle between the ground and airplanes...the ground has yet to lose. So he got an even better glider made of carbon fiber composites. Hans won a couple 2nd and 3rd place trophies but he was always chasing the guy in first for the season championship.
This year Hans was in first place for the season when his glider crashed, killing him instantly. As a tribute his flying brothers will scatter his ashes from the air while on final glide of the last race. Hans will also be remembered by the engineers who have learned from him that no matter how impossible a problem seems it can be solved by applying creativity, courage, determination, and a few beers!
Words cannot express how much Hans will be missed by his brother, sister, wife, children, grandchildren, fellow pilots, co-workers, and his dog Kayenta. Hans touched many lives with his quiet strength, his respect for all, and his generosity.
Although Hans did not consider himself very religious, his heartfelt concern for those in need was consistent with the scripture found in Luke 14:13 which reads: "But when you spread a feast, invite poor people, crippled, lame, blind; and you will be happy, because they have nothing with which to repay you. For you will be repaid in the resurrection of the righteous ones."
His wife Meng looks forward to the day when Hans can once more hike the mountains he loved so much without the pain in his legs. Sleep well Hans, we love you.
-Frank with love from Meng, Su Ling and Lea
Since arriving this week to say goodbye to Hans I have been stunned by a theatre of life unfolding before my eyes and the players have been so numerous - I'd have to say it's been a universal cast but with such key players - friends, companions - a global family with at its core the nectars and jewels to be found in Meng, Frank, Su Ling, Lea, Tai, Collin and Zoe.
Because I lived so many years away from Hans, you are the missing links that have helped me see and understand his life, to cut through the illusory veils woven by the tyranny of distance.
When now I let my heart and mind linger on the essence of Hans, it teems with new life, with the knowledge of individual and unique moments shared, each with its own richness, generosity and divinity.
I hope that today the seeds of resolution, acceptance, understanding and compassion, the very same seeds with which you gifted Hans or he you are drenched in the celebration of his life. Fare thee well my brother.
-Peter with love from Teresa and Annie