A giant of the Springfield real estate scene who always remembered to call his friends on their birthdays was described as unforgettable on Sunday.
These friends were mourning John A. Heitz, who died Sunday morning. He suffered from lung cancer and heart problems.
“John has more friends than anyone I’ve ever known,” said Craig Lowther, attorney at Lowther Johnson Attorneys at Law. “He checks in with people. He remembers their birthdays. He’s just a friendly guy who calls people just to see how they’re doing.”
Lowther said, “Everyone should have a good friend like John Heitz.”
Heitz, 77, has spent decades in residential and commercial real estate, starting with real estate agents Jones and Company.
He established John A. Heitz Properties in 1980, was a founding member of the House of Brokers and has been involved in the development of numerous subdivisions. He worked closely with developers, including Ron Stenger.
This year, Missouri State University named its new residence hall, Heitz House, in his honor at the request of Bryan Magers, the developer.
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Magers, who met Heitz in 1972, described Heitz as a mentor and friend who acted like a big brother. He spent years working on the new residence hall with the university and contacted MSU President Clif Smart to name it in honor of Heitz, an alumnus.
“I could always count on him for advice, no matter what kind, professional or personal,” Magers said. “I would call him and we would start out laughing and then we would talk about what he really thought he would do in a situation.”
Heitz, a real estate broker and developer, donated to MSU and supported nonprofits, including animal charities. He had no children.
Despite frail health, Heitz explained what the name Heitz House meant to him at the grand opening in late August.
“When you look around at the buildings they have here, a lot of people have died but their names live on and Bryan has allowed the Heitz name to live on,” Heitz said at the event. “Bryan’s selflessness, in not naming the building, which I really think he should have done, because it’s such a beautiful structure, he worked so hard on it, and I appreciate that. really. I love you, Bryan.”
Magers said Heitz, who served in the U.S. Marines, has been a dominant force in the local real estate scene for decades. “He had peers, but even those peers grudgingly said he was the best.”
Heitz found land for various residential developments and was involved in selling the houses once they were built. He was linked to many projects with the Stenger family, including Lions Gate and Wild Horse.
Lowther, the attorney, said Heitz was known for being honest and straightforward in his dealings.
“He didn’t have time to dance. If the answer was no, he would tell you no. If he said, ‘I have to go see so-and-so to check,’ he did and he would call you back,” said said Lowther. “He was the absolute ideal agent. He would never do anything other than what the client wanted. He would tell you right away.”
Larry Lipscomb, a well-known Springfield business owner and investor, has called Heitz a friend of the past 40 years. Heitz often joined the Lipscomb family for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.
“He’s such a caring and generous guy and he’s always had a heart for animals, especially dogs,” Lipscomb said, adding that Heitz has donated to area animal shelters and shelters. “He used to come down to Ozark two or three times a week to walk dogs there that were in a shelter.”
Heitz often traveled with Larry and Tracy Lipscomb and their children called him “Uncle John”.
“I would like to see his rolodex or his list, but he called everyone on their birthday. He never missed. He actually called me. I was in Dallas on Friday, my birthday.” , recalls Lipscomb.
He said Heitz will be remembered for the way he treated others.
“He cared about you. He was always asking how you were doing, what was going on with you,” Lipscomb said. “He’s a friend to everyone. I don’t know anyone who didn’t like him. And everyone spoke so highly of him.”
No funeral arrangements have been announced.
Claudette Riley covers education for the News-Leader. Email him tips at [email protected]