Roger Heller was a beloved husband, father, brother and friend. Roger lived in New Haven all his life, and he knew every inch of this town, from one end to the other. It was his world. He knew the business world in this town and the sports and the people from the mayor to the dogcatcher.
After high school he went to work as a salesman for a custom tailor. He went all over, selling to the Fords and the Kennedys and people all over the country. He was a great communicator and a great story-teller and he was interested in everything. He could talk everyone’s language; he could talk to the elite and he could talk to the riffraff. He was a character in the best sense of the word. The strange thing was that he could talk to and be with anyone, but he was always still himself. He wanted to know everything and he could learn from complete strangers.
He loved sports, and he’ll be remembered in particular for his love of ice hockey. He was a certified ice hockey referee. He did it until he was in his 70’s and he was forced to stop. His claim to fame was that he put the now famous Brian Leitch in the penalty box.
He was a salesman and then later, at around fifty, he became an insurance agent for Prudential. He needed to be moving, he was restless; the family calls him “the wandering Jew.”
He was a wonderful brother to Sadie; he was very good to her. Our condolences also go out to Marcia in California.
For his daughters, Barbara and Jayne, he was an easy-going guy, the kindest man they every knew. They found him impeccably honest. He was extremely supportive of them, even when they messed up. He would say, “You’re still my daughter.” He taught them to ice-skate, he took them sledding and horse-back riding.
For Evelyn, in their long beautiful marriage, he was a great and loving husband. You can’t sum up all those years in a few sentences. But it can be said that there are no regrets, that they loved each other and did for each other, and took care of each other.
Roger had an article in a book called “Savin Rock Memories.” I’m thinking, everyone has their Roger Heller memories.
Some will remember him going through an encyclopedia for no particular reason.
Some will remember him with dog biscuits in his pocket ready for anything.
Some will remember him at an ice hockey match, throwing people into the penalty box.
But most of all, the people who knew him best will remember him as a great guy.
And his family will remember how he said, “Watch yourself at all times.” Now he’s watching over his loved ones, and so, at all times, they’ll know he’s still with them.