Richard F. “Dick” Heylmun, age 89, of Pottstown, entered into eternal rest on Sunday May 2, 2021 at the Pottstown Hospital. He was the beloved husband of Sarah S. Heylmun, brother of Michael Heylmun and Barbara Longstreth, father of Richard Heylmun III, David Heylmun, Bruce Heylmun, Howard Heylmun, and Thomas Heylmun and grandfather to numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Dick was born on April 18, 1932 in Williamsport, PA and graduated from Haverford High School, near Philadelphia, in 1950. He excelled at basketball and, in his senior year, the Haverford team took second place in the Pennsylvania Class-A State Championships. Dick continued his education with a full-ride basketball scholarship at the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business. In his junior year, he led the Penn Quakers to the Eastern Intercollegiate League Championship with a 14-0 record. In his senior year, on March 8th 1954, Dick became the third player ever in Penn basketball history to score over 1000 points during his college basketball career. As team captain, he won the Bus McDonald award for “Most Inspirational Player”. Dick’s #17 team jersey was retired and remains on display in the main hallway at the University’s Palestra arena alongside his 1000-point commemorative basketball. While at the University of Pennsylvania, he met the love of his life, Sarah H. Smith. Sally and her Beaver College girlfriends had traveled to UPenn to watch the renowned Quakers play. The handsome Team Captain pictured in the game program caught her eye, and the two were introduced and soon married on November 17, 1956.
A United States Air Force ROTC cadet, Dick served his country for four years as a KC-97 pilot. Upon leaving the service, Dick and Sally settled down in Pottstown, PA to raise their family. After a short stint working at the Scott Paper Co., Dick entered the dry-cleaning business with his lifelong friend Hugh Cherry. Studying part-time, he obtained his master’s degree in teaching and, in 1961, Dick began his career at Owen J. Roberts High School teaching History and Social Studies. Needing more space for their growing family of boys, the couple moved from their small, Pottstown, Hale St. house to an acreage in the country. There began Pine Hill Farm, the Heylmun’s Christmas tree farm, which is still in operation today. A trip to the farm became a beloved annual tradition for many families, who traveled near and far, to “choose and cut” their own fresh Christmas tree for the holidays.
Dick taught throughout his boys’ school years and the family became well known fixtures in the community. He was eager to help wherever he was able and served on numerous community boards. Free time was spent taking his boys fishing and camping, both nearby and to his homestead area of Williamsport, PA. He never stopped providing history lessons along the way.
After retiring from teaching in 1986, Dick tapped into his extensive business knowledge and joined his sister, Barbara Longstreth, in building her unique company. Longstreth Sporting Goods serves the communities of women’s field hockey, lacrosse and softball, providing an economical source for reasonably priced, high quality sporting equipment. Working together, the company grew into a multi-million-dollar business which closely resembled the Christmas tree farm in that it, too, provided friendly, family-based, repeat, customer service.
By this time, Dick and Sally’s five boys were spread far and wide across the country. Combining his love for the outdoors (particularly fly fishing), his roots in north central PA, and his desire to provide a central family gathering place, Dick purchased a cabin on the Pine Creek near Slate Run, PA. A new family tradition began as three generations of Heylmun men reunited annually to fish for the elusive native trout. Whether or not any fish were actually caught was irrelevant, as Dick loved the long weekends where family bonded together, ensuring close, regular contact.
This continuing lifelong theme of family ties and tradition inspired yet another of Dick’s business ventures. Dick dreamed of providing other families with an affordable way to return to nature and gather together in the beautiful countryside of the Pine Creek valley. He purchased several more modest cabins in the area and Pine Creek Hospitality, a vacation cabin rental company, was born.
Dick was an extremely generous man with an enduring love for his family, friends and community and a deeply held belief in the intrinsic value of family traditions. He will be missed dearly!
A memorial service will be held Thursday, May 13, 2021 at 5:00 PM at Catagnus Funeral Home & Cremation Center, LLC., 711 N. Franklin St., Pottstown, PA 19464. Burial will be private. Visitation will be held Thursday from 3:00-4:45 PM at the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Slate Run Brown Trout Club and sent to: Brown Trout Club, 14167 Rt 414 HW, Slate Run, PA 17769. Please list “In Memory of Dick Heylmun” in the memo section.