Thomas Allen Heist, 63, passed suddenly and peacefully in his home in Womelsdorf on Tuesday, August 2, 2023.
Born in West Reading, he was the son of the late Robert Thomas and Marilyn Catherine (Scheibner) Heist. Tom attended Sacred Heart Elementary School and graduated from Holy Name High School in the Class of 1978. He started college at the University of Pittsburgh in 1979 studying pre-pharmacology, but ultimately changed majors and transferred to Penn State University. His college career ended just short of an associate degree in metallurgical engineering technology due to a conflict between the lab course schedule and work/family commitments.
While in college, Tom worked as a Machinist at Rockwell International and later at Neapco Machine Shop. In 1984, he started as a Chemical Analyst at Carpenter Technology in what would become a 30-year career. In 2001, he became a Process Analyst and developed manufacturing lineups and quality test plans for a wide variety of specialty alloy products. In 2007, he moved to the mechanical testing and metallography labs as a Group Leader. After retiring from Carpenter in 2015, Tom worked briefly for Boose Aluminum Foundry as a Manufacturing Engineer. In 2019, he returned part-time to Carpenter as a data technician supporting the Business Transformation Enablement (BTE) project deploying SAP enterprise software company-wide.
Tom learned to play guitar in his youth and carried a deep love of music throughout his life. Growing up in West Reading and Wyomissing, he developed a strong interest in local and industrial history, architecture, and cars that fostered a life-long love of learning and made him a compelling conversationalist. Tom also enjoyed the outdoors and regularly played golf and tennis with friends and through the Carpenter intracompany leagues. He treasured the simple things in life, like quiet times around a campfire, long walks and splashing in Wyomissing Creek, throwing frisbee and playing with his daughter, sketching, and a good crossword puzzle.
Tom was a loving family man and wonderful friend with a great sense of humor and incredible spirit of generosity. He was quick to offer help to anyone in need and volunteered with multiple organizations over the years; building theater sets for Fleetwood Area High School, packing boxes at Helping Harvest, leading the Carpenter golf league, bar tending at the Steelers Fellowship Club, and helping with Steelers egg hunts and Christmas parties for kids of Carpenter employees. Tom also had an incredible love for animals, especially cats, and was a supporter of Humane Pennsylvania and Animal Rescue League of Reading.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Marilyn; younger sister, Anne P. Heist; and eldest son, Nathaniel B. Heist. He is survived and will be deeply missed by his wife, Jennifer, and their daughter, Catherine Renee; son, Benjamin Thomas Heist of Lyons Station; sister, Elizabeth Marie Keller of Sinking Spring; and many other friends and extended family.
A Celebration of Tom's Life will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 2, 2023 at West Lawn United Methodist Church, 15 Woodside Ave, Reading, PA ,19609. Family and friends are invited to gather at the church from 10:30 a.m. until the time of service. A luncheon will follow in West Lawn UMC Raffauf Community Center.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Tom’s memory to South Mountain YMCA for Bynden Wood Scholarships Safe Berks (smymca.org); Humane Pennsylvania (humanepa.org); Animal Rescue League of Berks County (berksarl.org); Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Parish (shrcparish.org); or West Lawn United Methodist Church (westlawnumc.org).
Edward J. Kuhn Funeral Home, Inc, 739 Penn Avenue, West Reading, PA 19611 is handling arrangements.
Online condolences may be recorded at www.kuhnfuneralhomes.com