Maurice M. Heidinger passed away at his home in Billings, of natural causes, on Dec. 11, 2013.
A graveside service will be in North Dakota at a later date.
Maurice M. Heidinger was born to Adam and Leah Heidinger on a farm northwest of Kulm, N.D., on Nov. 2, 1930. He grew up amidst drought, dust storms, grasshoppers and the Depression. This early environment had a profound influence on his later outlook on life, which made him a very humble and frugal man.
Maurice’s desire for learning began in a one-room school, which provided the first eight years of his education. The one-mile walk during Dakota blizzards was quite a challenge at times. He graduated as Valedictorian from Kulm High School in 1949.
Maurice graduated from Valley City State College, Valley City, N.D., with a BA and a BS in education in 1953. He was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study geography at the University of Heidelberg in Germany for one year. This gave Maurice the opportunity to get in touch with his family roots, which began a passion for his studying genealogy.
Following his stay in Germany, Maurice served two years active duty in the U.S. Army and was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army Reserve in October 1962.
In the fall of 1956, Maurice began a four-year career as a high school teacher at Cavalier High School and then Lakota High School in North Dakota.
From 1960 to 1965, Maurice earned an M.A.T., M.A. and Ph.D., specializing in German language and literature from Indiana University in Bloomington.
Since 1965, he taught German at Idaho State University (Pocatello), Rockford College (Illinois), and Eastern Montana College (Billings). During this time, he traveled extensively in Europe and Asia. He also pursued his interests in genealogy, gardening and his love of dogs, Sam and B.B. Maurice retired from full time teaching at Eastern Montana College in 1989.
Although Maurice remained a bachelor, he always enjoyed life and was never bored or lonely.
Preceding Maurice in death were parents, Adam and Leah Heidinger; brother, Hilbert Heidinger; and sister, Esther Schlenker. Surviving Maurice are sister-in-law Emma Heidinger, Kulm, N.D.; one nephew, Gordon (Laura) Schlenker, Jud, N.D.; niece Joyce (Dana) Rivinius, Dickinson, N.D.; and niece Charlene (Jerry) Wolf, Hayward, Calif.