John Heathfield ’86: A Good Dad, Son, Brother & Friend

Coming from a large family of nine children, Delta Chi was a great fit for Brother John Heathfield ’86. He thoroughly enjoyed meeting people from all over the country and being part of the brotherhood, even if that meant embarrassing moments like being dropped off at his girlfriend’s sorority in running shorts, lipstick and eyeliner in the dead of winter for a coffin party. Thankfully, his little brother, Mike Schafer ’87, was able to pick him up on his ’76 Malibu and get him home.

“Delta Chi in the ’80s was a great place to live and learn,” John says. “They say that you learn more out of the classroom than you learn in it, and I believe Delta Chi was a big part of this process for me.  I’m very proud of our accomplishments. One summer when I was treasurer, we were trying to figure out how to make ends meet and get some much needed new carpeting and furniture for the living room.  We ended up making a couple thousand dollars parking cars on the grounds during Art Fair and were able to buy the house new carpet and furniture just in time for the new school year. I enjoyed my time in Delta Chi and it truly is the “Brotherhood of a Lifetime.”

John still talks to several brothers and actually attended a football this past weekend with quite a few including Dave Gormley ’87, Nick Markus ’87, Eric Popp ’88, Darius Fadanelli ’89, Scott “Scooter” Imlach ’90 and Marty Heger ’87. The group gets together a few times a year and keeps in touch via email.

Besides his classes and his time in the brotherhood, John also worked 20 hours a week at Radio Shack and was able to graduate with a B.A. in communication and only $1,500 debt. After graduation, he took a job working in industrial sales at Sine Products Company in Mt. Clemens, Mich., and, after a few years of fighting the traffic in Detroit, he took a job in West Michigan working for an electrical distributor in Grand Rapids and has been there ever since.

“My company is The Carlton Bates Company, a division of Wesco Distribution,” John says. “If anyone is in Michigan and needs help saving money on their automation products, please get in touch with me.  We also have locations and people all over the country.”

John has no doubt in his mind that his life’s biggest successes are his three daughters.

“They say the apple does not fall far from the tree, but these girls have surpassed my greatest expectations and I am very proud of them,” he says. “Holly is 15 and getting her driver’s permit this year—not looking forward to this. She is a great student and plays on the varsity golf team. Kathleen is 13, also a straight-A student and loves to sing in choir, participate in the annual musical and plays volleyball. Rebecca is 11 and just moved up into middle school. It is challenging being a single father of three daughters and balancing work with my girls’ activities, but we seem to be doing well.”

John currently lives on six acres of land in the countryside of Marne, Mich. (about 10 minutes West of Grand Rapids). In his spare time, he enjoys boating, snowmobiling, running a few races a year and hanging out with friends and family. He has also spent a lot of summer months in Grand Haven, Mich., where he has a family vacation place.

John encourages brothers to give him a call at 616-304-4090 or email him at [email protected].