Irene Francis Heil, 86, passed away on Saturday, March 4, 2017 at Zearing Health Care Center in Zearing, Iowa. Irene was born in Haverhill, Iowa on May 10, 1930 to John and Theresa (Jansen) Stalzer. She attended school at St. Mary's in Marshalltown, Iowa and graduated in 1948. She met Harold Heil at a dance in Marshalltown and the couple married on November 21, 1949 in Haverhill, Iowa.

The couple resided in Marshalltown until relocating to a farm near St. Anthony, Iowa in 1952. They farmed together for 25 years until 1978 when they moved into Zearing, Iowa. Irene also worked at the National Animal Disease Lab in Ames for over 20 years. Irene was a member of the Rosary Society of Sacred Heart Catholic Church and then St. Gabriel's Catholic Church. Irene loved to spend time with her family, travel, camp in their RV, cook, and sew.

Wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother whose contagious smile filled the lives of her husband (Harold Heil) of 67 years, her five children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She lost her fight with Frontal Temporal Dementia that plagued her life for the last 10 years.

Her children:

  • Dee (George) Sorenson of Jewell, IA
  • Linda (Steve) Lounsberry of Cedar Rapids, IA
  • Karen (Lee) Eggers of Lenexa, KS
  • Janice (Philip) Launspach of Iowa City, IA
  • Brian (Kathy) Heil of Olathe, KS

The poem below describes the mother we lost to a disease that is a mystery of the mind that we are determined to help solve with the help of the TGEN Foundation.


I had two mothers ...
Two mothers I claim.
Two different people ...
Yet with the same name.
Two separate women ...
Diverse by design.
But I loved them both
Because they were both mine.
The first was the mother
who carried me here
Gave birth and nurtured and
launched my career.
She was the one whose features I bear.
Complete with the facial expression I wear.
She gave me some music which follows me yet. Along with examples in the life that she set.
Then as I got older she some younger grew.
And we'd laugh as just mothers and daughters do. As quickly she changed and turned to the other.
A stranger who dressed in the clothes of my mother.

Oh she looked the same at least at arms length
But she was the child now and I was her strength. We'd come full circle we women three.
My mother the first, the second and me.
And if my own children should come to a day When a new mother comes and the old goes away I'd ask of them nothing that I didn't do
Love both of your mothers as both have loved you. by Anonymous

Your donation to honor a loved one in our memorial program is important to furthering the institute's mission to develop earlier diagnoses and smarter treatments for patients. All gifts at every level make a difference!

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You may also send a gift by mail to:
TGen Foundation
445 N. 5th Street, Suite 120
Phoenix, AZ 85004