Robert Earl Heiner (Bob) father, grandfather and friend passed away on November 29, 2022 surrounded by his wife and family.
Bob was a talented, gifted and amazing man. Besides loving his family, he loved nature, plants, hiking, sports, and building beautiful homes. He shared his talents with anyone who needed his help and gave his best with patience and humility.
Bob was born in Oakley, Idaho, December 19, 1931 to Mildred Lucille Richens and Orville Heiner. He was the 6th of 7 children. He graduated from Oakley High School where he was very active in football and basketball and was co-valedictorian of his class. He married Marilyn Martin, the love of his life, in 1951 in the Salt Lake Temple.
He attended Utah State University and received a BS degree in 1954 and an MS degree in 1958 majoring in plant genetics.
He served as a Lieutenant in the United States Army from 1954 to 1956, during the Korean war. He was known as an expert marksman.
He went on to receive a PhD at Washington State University in 1963. While at WSU his research showed that some chemicals can cause high mutation rates without breaking chromosomes. These results were widely reported on television, radio and newspapers.
He then accepted a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Brookhaven National Laboratory at Long Island, New York researching the affect of chemicals and radiation on plants. Dr. Heiner was hired as a professor of Genetics and Plant Breeding at the University of Minnesota, along with a joint appointment with the US Department of Agriculture, as a Technical Advisor to coordinate all spring wheat research funded by the U.S. Government. He developed 8 superior spring wheat varieties, one of which (ERA) returned to the farmers in the Northern Great Plains more than $50 million per year. While at Minnesota he published 38 significant articles on spring wheat research.
After 13 years at The University of Minnesota, Dr. Heiner accepted a new position in private Industry at North American Plant Breeders, later named Agripro Seed in Berthoud, Colorado. After 9 years of managing Agripro Seed in Berthoud, he was promoted to Vice President of Research for all field crops and moved to Kansas City. Under his leadership, hundreds of new varieties and hybrids were released to the farmers.
He was recognized by his colleagues for his leadership in promoting agricultural research. He was chosen as one of four scientists from the United States to tour the Soviet Union and set up an exchange program with the Soviet Union. He was also invited to the Chinese Embassy to discuss wheat research. He was chosen to receive the honor as “Fellow” in both the American Society of Agronomy and the Crop Science Society of America. Dr. Heiner was elected President of the National Council of Commercial Plant Breeders and President of the American Seed Trade Association. He retired in 1993 and he and his wife moved to Utah.
Bob was a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter -Day Saints. He served faithfully in many callings in the church. Some of his proudest moments were performing priesthood ordinations for his 4 sons. He is survived by his wife of 71 years and five children: Jill, Randall, Gregory (Lauri), Jan (Steve) and Jeffrey. He was preceded in death by his son Mark. He has 21 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren.
A funeral service will be held at Memorial Mortuary for the family.