businessman, Robert R. Heaton, 91 passed away on
Saturday, January 2, 2021 at his residence in
He was born in Butler, PA on April 1, 1929 he was
the son of the late Ralph B. Heaton and Mary E.
The epitome of his successful life was in his
ability to donate $1 Million to the Butler County
Community College for the renovation of the Beck
Library, subsequently renamed as the Heaton Family
Learning Center. Bob exemplified the term “self-made
man”. From humble beginnings on Butler’s south side,
he valued education and hard work as the path to
success. Growing up in the Great Depression, he
began working at age 11, helping out at the Zellsman
Motor Company, a Studebaker dealership.
While in high school he and his friends embraced the
patriotism of World War II by lying about their age
in order to work Victory Shift after school each
night from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the former Bantam
Car Company, helping to assemble trailers for
military Jeeps or also helping build amphibious
At the conclusion of the war, Bob went to work at
Benson’s Men’s Wear on Main Street. It was there
that he met Marion McGinnis of West Sunbury, the
daughter of a customer, and eventually they married
in 1951. In their 52-year marriage they would share
a love of travel and history as they explored their
own country and abroad.
Having graduated from Butler High School a half-year
early in 1947, he originally aspired to study
medicine and become a doctor. Bob knew that he would
have to pay for his own education, his parents being
unable to afford to help him and scholarships being
essentially nonexistent in those days. He adjusted
his goals and entered what is now Case Western
Reserve to study mortuary science. He worked
part-time at a funeral home near the school to help
cover the cost of his classes. He graduated in1950.
Bob and Marion moved to Ridgway, PA so that Bob
could apprentice at the Gallup Funeral Home. While
there, their daughter Leanne was born. Within two
years they returned to Butler when he accepted a
position at the then Thompson Funeral Home. He
worked for that establishment for 42 years.
Following retirement from funeral service Bob
applied his knowledge of business and investing to a
new interest by becoming a real estate developer.
Establishing RHGL Inc with his friend and partner,
Glenn R. Logan, former owner of Logan Candy Company.
Together they were responsible for housing
developments at Avon Drive, Meridian Highlands,
Stirling Village, Camelot Woods and Shady Lane Farms
as well as numerous individual homes in the area.
Bob was blessed in life by the love of three women.
Marion McGinnis Heaton, his wife of 52 years died in
2003, MaryAnn McGuirk Zeigler, shared his affections
until her death in 2011 and Martha Jane Keller
Keasey who was his companion until her death in
2015. Each brought light and joy to his life.
Bob was a faithful member of Trinity Presbyterian
Church and subsequently Covenant Presbyterian
Church. He was an ordained Elder and Trustee as well
as serving on the Ministerial Relations Board of the
Beaver-Butler Presbytery. When in residence in
Florida he attended the Vanderbilt Presbyterian
Always active in business, social, civic and
political groups, Bob was a Past-President of the
Western Pennsylvania Funeral Directors and remained
a member-emeritus of their Board of Directors. He
was a member of the Butler/Victory Lodge #272 F&A.
M,, Syria Shrine of Pittsburgh, Past President of
Butler Shrine Caravan 14, past Treasurer of Butler
Kiwanis, a continuing member of the Odd Fellows and
an enthusiastic member of the Shrine Luncheon Clubs
of Butler and of Marco Island, FL.
He served as a member of the Northwest Sanitary
Sewer Authority, a member of the Civil Service
Commission, and served terms as Republican
Committeeman of Butler. He was honored as the
Distinguished Citizen of Butler County by the
Moraine Council of Boy Scouts and was one of three
finalists for the Butler High School Distinguished
Graduate Award in 2018.
Bob loved cars, owning an assortment of antique and
classic automobiles over the years which he restored
himself and took great joy in driving in shows and
parades. He was a member of the Butler Old Stone
House Region of the Antique Automobile Club of
America, the Mercedes Benz Club of Pittsburgh and
the Mercedes Benz Club of Naples. He was very proud
of the 1955 Thunderbird that he bought new, keeping
it for the rest of his life and of being member
number 12 of the then newly formed Classic
Thunderbird Club International. He became one of the
first local owners of a Tesla S car enjoying its
beautiful, innovative technology.
Following the death of his business partner, Bob
administered the Glenn R. Logan Scholarship Trust
for Butler High School and the Glenn R. Logan and
Rhea Jean McCandless Logan Family Trust. He was also
named a trustee of the J. Robert and Alberta C
Rodgers Memorial Trust of Slippery Rock following
the demise of his dear friend Evelyn Rodgers.
In latter years Bob was limited by physical problems
but continued to enjoy meeting friends for meals,
talking to his buddies on the phone and sharing
jokes and news via the internet.
He is survived by his daughter Leanne Heaton and his
nephews David (Gay) Travaglio, Kevin (Margie)
Travaglio, Brad (Judy) Vinroe, Carl Vinroe, Robert
Vinroe, and Richard (Joyce) Vinroe as well as their
Bob was preceded in death by his parents, his sister
Anna Margaret Heaton Vinroe, his beloved wife
Marion, his loving companions, MaryAnn Zeigler and
Martha Jane Keasey and his nephew, Dennis Travaglio.
There will be no public visitation.
A Memorial Service will be held at a later date.
Private entombment will take place in the Chapel of
Devotion Mausoleum at Butler County Memorial Park.
Memorials donations may be made to the Shriner's
Hospital Fund, Covenant Presbyterian Church of
Butler, Butler County Symphony Association or Butler
County Community College.
Deep gratitude is extended to all family, friends
and business associates who enriched his life, you
were his greatest wealth.