Pewamo-Westphalia community mourns principal and son’s deaths

PEWAMO-WESTPHALIA, Mich. (WLNS) – One-by-one, close friends and family made their way into Pewamo-Westphalia High School to pay their respects to 52 year-old George Heckman and his 28 year-old son Grant who died a few days ago.

“It’s going to be some quiet weeks ahead that’s for sure, I’m going to miss him,” said Paul Hungerford.

For Hungerford, the news about his cousins deaths is heart wrenching.

“George is you know he changed the atmosphere of a room, he brought so much enjoyment to everyone’s life…Grant…what a fantastic young man…he had his challenges all the way through but I saw so many happy times with Grant too,” Hungerford stated.

Hungerford says he spoke to George three to four times a week and was in disbelief when he heard the news of the murder-suicide.

“I was shocked like everybody else but I just want to be around my family…our family is very tight, very close,” Hungerford added.

The relationship that George and Grant shared will leave an everlasting impression on their family and because of George’s role in the community, his presence will be missed especially by Pewamo-Westphalia Schools Superintendent Garth Cooper who says he didn’t see this coming.

“There just was no indication that there was anything disturbing his mind so when I heard the news it was just incredibly shocking and of course it hurts you very deeply,” said Cooper.

George was Principal at Pewamo–Westphalia Elementary and was next in line to step into the role of superintendent.

Even though they were taken too soon, George and Grant’s memory is sure to carry on.

“George over the long term as well as Grant will be remembered for the contributions they made to the community,” said Cooper.

“The amount of positive impact he’s brought to my life and everybody else’s life…you hold onto that, you’ll find strength to move forward,” Hungerford stated.

George is survived by his wife Jeanne, Sam his son and daughter Claudia.

Grant’s memory will also be carried on through his mother, brother and sister.

Funeral services for George and Grant Heckman will be held tomorrow morning at 10:30 a.m. at St. Mary’s church in Westphalia.

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