Cover photo for Marilyn Kay Heilman's Obituary
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1955 Marilyn Kay Heilman 2023

Marilyn Kay Heilman

July 16, 1955 — August 15, 2023


Marilyn Kay (Bearnes) Heilman, 68, finished her race on August 15, 2023. She was born July 16, 1955, in Salina, the daughter of George A. and Lois R. (Brenner) Bearnes. 

Kay graduated from Bennington High School in 1973 and continued her education at Cloud County Community College and a floral design school in Denver. At Cloud County, she met Jeff Heilman, a baseball player with whom she fell in love and spent more than 40 years beside. Jeff and Kay were married on Oct. 29, 1977 and grew a family in the Wichita area. 

In September 1979, Jeff and Kay welcomed their first child, a daughter named Rachel. Lacey followed in October 1983, followed by Matt in March 1986. Kay was nurturing, eager to volunteer and delighted in seeing all three succeed. She was the biggest cheerleader for her children and perhaps even more so for a small army of grandchildren that grew to nine. Every one of her grandkids had a special place in Kay’s heart and her face lit up when she talked about any of them. 

Beyond her own family, Kay left a profound impression on so many who crossed paths with her. In countless ways, she exemplified what it means to live for Christ and “walk the walk.” This was evident in every aspect of her life, including in her career in early childhood education. As a paraeducator, she formed lifelong friendships and helped preschoolers with special needs grow and thrive. In the classroom, she treated these children as “her babies.” 

Kay’s faith was inspiring and grew all the way until the evening she met Jesus. She loved worship in song and in nature. In silent moments surrounded by God’s creation, she drew closer to her savior. With Jeff, Kay built cherished friendships in church and in her community. To know Kay was to love her and every path she crossed was brightened. 

A woman who transformed and enriched countless lives is preceded in death by her husband, Jeff Heilman; her parents, George and Lois Bearnes; two brothers, Stephen Bearnes and Ron Bearnes (survived by wife, Carol, of Culver, Kan.); and a granddaughter, Mia Heilman. She is survived by her children, Rachel (David) Koehn; Lacey (Brian) Stratton; and Matt (Amy) Heilman, all of Valley Center, brothers, Kent (Kim) and Tim (Deb) Bearnes, of Laurel, Neb.; sisters, Connie Bearnes, of Jefferson City, Mo.; Kathy (Dean) Anderson, of Jamestown, Kan.; Stephanie (Rick) Bailey, of Fort Wayne, Ind.; mother-in-law, Dee Heilman, of Wichita; brother-in-law, Doug Heilman, of Wichita; sister-in-law, Linda Spears, of Haysville; nine grandchildren: Norah, Addie and Devin Koehn; Anna, Kate and Joel Stratton; Alise, Milo and Magnolia Heilman, and many nieces and nephews. 

A celebration of life service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 25 at Riverlawn Christian Church, 4243 N. Meridian Ave, Wichita KS 67204. A graveside remembrance will follow at Crown Point Cemetery, near Culver. 

In honor of Kay, a memorial donation will be presented to Valley Center Early Childhood Education. Those interested in contributing may send a donation in care of Rachel Koehn, noting the memorial.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Marilyn Kay Heilman, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Friday, August 25, 2023

10:30 - 11:30 am (Central time)

Riverlawn Christian Church

4243 N Meridian Ave, Wichita, KS 67204

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