Sarah “Sally” Heylmun, age 86, owner and operator of Pine Hill Farms, “Choose and Cut” Christmas trees, died peacefully on Monday, June 14, 2021, at the Pottstown Hospital. She is survived by her five sons, Richard, David, Bruce, Howard, and Thomas, her daughter in laws, her siblings, Diana Smith Pitcher and Wilson Howard Smith, and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren. She is predeceased by her husband of 64 years, Richard (Dick) Heylmun, who died on May 2, 2021.
Sarah Rogers Smith was born to Howard and Katherine Smith on September 3, 1934, at Bridgeport Hospital in Bridgeport, CT. Her father worked as an executive for General Electric. Sally’s childhood family home was in Stratford, CT, but her favorite place to visit was located near Mystic, in the small seaside hamlet of Lord’s Point. Sally had many fond memories of the cottage her grandfather rented for them each summer. She clearly remembered, at the young age of four, playing on the dock until the very last minute, before her parents ushered her reluctantly into the car for the return trip home. Shortly afterwards, the Great New England Hurricane of 1938 ravaged her cherished vacation community. Fortunately, the Smith family cottage rental, now known as the Martin Cottage, was spared.
Throughout her lifetime, Sally shared a close relationship with both her sister Diana (three years younger) and brother Bill (six years younger). Although she enjoyed the company of all her first cousins, cousin Beth held an extra special place in her heart. In the early 1960s, Sally returned to her prized vacation spot, this time staying in the Griffin Cottage, just a few doors down from her grandfather’s summer home. Sally’s growing family continued to rent this wonderful cottage for decades, hosting there many happy, summertime Smith/Heylmun family reunions. Eventually, the family returned again to the beloved Martin Cottage of her childhood. This and several other cottages continue to be rented annually by her sons, perpetuating a generational love for all that is Lord’s Point.
Sally graduated from Beaver College (now known as Arcadia University) with a Bachelor of Arts in Education. One of her dear friends was Barbara Heylmun (now Longstreth). Barbara introduced Sally to her star basketball-playing, USAF ROTC cadet brother, Richard Heylmun. A whirlwind romance followed, and Sally and Dick were married on November 17, 1956. Sally joined her husband on his military installation while he completed his pilot commitment. The young couple then moved to a small house on Yale St. in Pottstown, PA, where Sally gave birth to sons Rich and Dave. Hoping for a girl, Sally and Dick added Bruce and Howie to the fold. Finally, their fifth and youngest child, Tom, was born. After eight years and five sons, Sally gave up her dream of a pink nursery and was more than content with her beautiful family of scrappy boys and her adored Springer Spaniels, who, at her insistence, were always girls.
In 1965, the family purchased a 100-year-old farmhouse on 7+ acres of land on Sheep Hill Road. After reviewing various types of farming, and recognizing that they had been blessed with five strong, capable, young boys, Sally and Dick decided to grow Christmas trees. With the help of many family members, friends, and neighbors, the Christmas tree farm has flourished for over fifty years with sales made as recently as this past Christmas Eve.
In addition to raising her five boys, Sally worked as a substitute teacher at Owen J. Roberts High School. She dabbled in real estate for a short time, but her true love was managing the tree farm. Sally spent countless days planting, mowing, and enjoying one of her favorite activities, shearing the Christmas trees. Many local preschool and elementary school children have visited Pine Hill Farms. Sally loved entertaining these little ones and added a petting zoo and playground for their enjoyment.
With her boys grown, Sally began quilting as a hobby. Her quilting bag was never far from her side and throughout the years, Sally gifted as Christmas, wedding, anniversary and baby gifts several hundred of her works of fabric art to friends and family. Annually, she created a quilt to be used as a raffle prize for her Christmas tree customers. A few lucky attendees at the yearly convention of the Pennsylvania Christmas Tree Growers Association also took home a Sally Heylmun original quilt. Sally studied many techniques, including the various and complex styles of Amish quilting. Her skill with the needle was quite remarkable and many of her quilts have won awards with several of them featured in quilting magazines.
Upon her husband’s recent passing, Sally moved to the Keystone Villa retirement community in Douglassville, PA, where she planned on spending the rest of her time relaxing and enjoying life. Sally was a wonderful mother to her five boys who always walked with a “pep” in her step and a smile on her face. She remained active and outgoing until shortly before her unexpected passing. Sally was well loved by her sons and their families, as well as by many friends and neighbors. She will be missed dearly.
A funeral service will be held Saturday, June 19, 2021 at 11:00 AM at Catagnus Funeral Home and Cremation Center, LLC., 711 Franklin St., Pottstown, PA 19464. Visitation will be held Saturday from 10:00-11:00 AM at the funeral home. Private burial will follow.
View obituary or send condolences at www.catagnusfuneralhomes.com