Michael David “Heilsey” Heil

heilFORT EDWARD – Michael David “Heilsey” Heil, 61, of Fort Edward Commons, passed away peacefully, following a massive heart attack, surrounded by his loving family on Friday, May 29, 2015, at the Glens Falls Hospital.

Born on May 26, 1954, in Glens Falls, Mike was the son of Elaine and Anthony Pagana of Fort Edward and Carl Edward Heil of Cicero.

He attended Hudson Falls High School and then worked hard to receive his GED.

Mike worked at Scott Paper in Fort Edward, Bocchi Brother’s garage, formerly in Hudson Falls and then, following a tragic accident that left him a quadriplegic, Mike charged full steam ahead by taking courses at Adirondack Community College where he also counseled others who had suffered disabling injuries.  He owned and operated Mike’s Motorcycle and Small Engine Repair and then partnered with Michael Putney to operate Double M Small Engine Repair.  Forever busy, he then did computer research for friends and family.

He liked playing chess, fishing, shooting his pistols, enjoyed music and concerts, especially trips to see RUSH at SPAC with John Pagano.  Prior to his accident, he loved motocross racing.  He was sponsored by Hodaka and Waite’s in Queensbury.  He was very proud to have been ranked the #1 motocross racer in New York State for a period of time!

Most of all, Mike loved the time he spent with family and friends and was honored to be an Honorary Member of the Adirondack Riders.

He is predeceased by his maternal grandparents, Homer and Julia Jarvis and his paternal grandparents, Daniel and Julia Heil.

In addition to his parents, Mike is survived by his sisters, Pamela Heil Casey of Queensbury, Diane Heil Barrett and her husband, James of Wilton, Laurie Heil Wieland and her husband, Peter of Queensbury, his brothers Christopher Heil and his wife, Pamela of Queensbury, Mark Heil of Fort Edward; his sisters, Tammy Pagana (Michael Kokoletsos) of Queensbury and Carmela Pagana-Saville and her husband, Weylin of South Glens Falls; and many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, grand-nephews and cousins.

Friends may call from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the Carleton Funeral Home, Inc., 68 Main St., Hudson Falls.

A graveside Rite of Committal will take place at 9 a.m. on Thursday at St. Paul’s Cemetery on Vaughn Road in the town of Kingsbury, with the Rev. Thomas Konopka officiating.

In lieu of flowers, mike’s family requests that contributions in his memory be made to the Fort Edward Rescue Squad, Inc., PO Box 226, Fort Edward, NY 12828.

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5 Responses to Michael David “Heilsey” Heil

  1. Cyndi Mandolare says:

    I am so sad….spending a great deal of time at the Paganas and with Homer and Julia I felt like a sister to Mike during our teen years….ride through heaven Mike!

  2. Paul Heid says:

    Hi, I started racing motorcycles a short time before Mike was injured. My dad bought his Hodaka motorcycle for me to race. I raced it successfully for several years, Including a second high points year for Mike’s Hodaka. . Mike reached out to me within the last year by phone and we spoke for quite some time. I am terribly saddened to hear of his passing. He called our shop only a few weeks ago and spoke with my brother. His nephew ( a police officer) spoke to me about Mike before that. I was looking forward to talking with him. My sincere condolences, Paul Heid , Heids Hodaka, Johnsburg

  3. I was deeply saddened to learn of Mike’s passing. He was a great friend, and forever will be missed. Party in the stars my friend.

  4. Dr David G Welch, MD says:

    2249 STATE RT 86
    SARANAC LAKE, NY 12983
    PHONE 518 891 3845
    FAX 518 891 1236

    June 2, 2015

    Re: Michael Heil

    I had the privilege of knowing Mike for more than 40 years. I first met him while doing my residency in the field of physical medicine and rehabilitation when he was a patient at the Sunnyview Hospital and Rehabilitation Center in Schenectady. This was shortly after he had suffered his C5 level quadriplegia relating to a motor vehicle accident in which he had been a passenger.
    Over the years that I knew Mike he was not only a patient but a friend. Even after I relocated from Glens Falls to Saranac Lake, Mike continued to stay in touch with frequent emails and yearly visits.
    There are a few things that stand out in my memory of Mike. First was his incredible ability to make friends and particularly to attract good-looking young women to be around him. Even as a patient in the hospital he had the ability to charm nursing students, candy stripers and virtually any other women with whom he came in contact. They would gather around his bedside to chat with him and also became his friends.
    Second was his fighting spirit to continue to live life fully in spite of his injury. He sought out new and sometimes controversial treatments, communicated with others around the world on advancements in spinal cord treatment and after a rocky first couple of years did everything within his power to maintain his health and follow the directions that we collectively had given him. I would note that at the time of his injury in the early 1970s the life expectancy for someone with a C5 level quadriplegia was less than 10 years and the average life expectancy was less than 5. The fact that he went more than 40 years is a testament to his courage, fortitude, and desire to do everything possible to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The exception to this was his persistence in smoking, the one bad habit he could not give up.
    The third thing and perhaps his greatest attribute was his kindness. A couple of years ago when he was celebrating 40 years since his injury he went out of his way to honor those who had participated in his care. In particular he was grateful to the Washington County Public Health Nursing Service and the home aides who had worked with him for over 40 years. This recognition on his part that his longevity was at least in part due to the work of others involved in his daily care was perhaps his greatest attribute. It was never just about him but he adopted the model that it was a team that was responsible for his success.
    He was a person who was never angry at the severe blow that life had handed him. He made the best of what he still had left and tried to make the lives of those around him better as well. His effort at opening his own motorcycle repair and small engine shop were characteristic of his desire to make something of himself. His respect for his parents and his grandparents as well as his siblings was also a model for all to follow.
    As I reach the twilight of my career I was concerned about who would take over the care of patients such as Mike. Having first met him during my residency and followed him through all the 40 years of my career I felt privileged that he chose to continue to see me and to remain my friend. While I will miss him dearly, his passing has removed one of the burdens of giving up my practice of medicine and having to say goodbye to patients I have known for many many years.

    David G. Welch, MD

  5. Roberta says:

    Mike was a good friend of mine from 1970 on and I know that he is with family and friends above.

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