Donald Heitler

Donald Heitler

URBANA – Donald H. Heitler, 81, of Urbana passed away on Sunday, March 25, 2018, at home.

Donald was born Aug. 28, 1936, in Pekin, the son of Elma Heitler and Hallett Heitler. They both preceded him in death.

He is survived by two half brothers, Hallett Heitler and Robert Heitler, both of Florida, as well as several nieces, nephews and cousins, including Janet Huffman (and Jerry) of Farmington.

Mr. Heitler graduated from Jacksonville School for the Blind in 1955. He attended Illinois Wesleyan University for two years, then transferred to the University of Illinois where he earned an M.S. in music education, a B.A. in music performance and an M.S. in guidance and counseling.

Donald captivated people throughout the country with his magnificent piano artistry playing in New York, Detroit, Chicago, Scottsdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and other cities. He toured with the Urbie Green Jazz Quartet. He also recorded with George Shearing, Dick Hyman and Grady Tate.

He played for many years with the Medicare 7, 8 or 9 band from University of Illinois. He also played at almost every music venue in Champaign-Urbana for the last 40 years. He was the 2013 winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award From 40 N, Champaign County Arts Council.

A celebration of life will be held from 1:30 to 3 p.m. April 28, 2018, at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center, 601 S. Lincoln Ave., Urbana.

Memorial contributions may be made to the University of Illinois Alumni Association, 601 S. Lincoln Ave., Urbana, IL 61801.

Morgan Memorial Home, Savoy, is handling arrangements (