William Henry Heckman

Arkansas-Louisiana Conference President, 1932-1933

His Early Years

William Henry Heckman was born on January 17, 1869, in Allegan, Michigan. His parents, Lavina Renken, and Hendrik Jan “Henry” Hekman, were both immigrants from the Netherlands. William was the oldest child and over the next few years had a younger brother and three younger sisters. William received his education at Battle Creek College. William married Anna Mary McKinnon on August 6, 1895, when he was 26 years old (Ancestry, 2021). The couple lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where William was working as a painter, carpenter, and decorator.

Years of Service

William H. Heckman ca. 1905

William was granted his ministerial license in January 1903 and was asked to become the West Michigan Conference canvassing agent (Herald, 1903). He served in this capacity until May 1905, when he became the pastor of the Battle Creek church (Herald, 1905). Leaving Battle Creek in January 1908, Elder William H. Heckman was called to the presidency of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference (Herald, 1907). Five years later, Elder Heckman was asked to serve as the president of the Florida Conference from January 1913 (Worker, 1912) until the end of 1917 (Tidings, 1913). In January 1918 he became president of the New Jersey Conference (Visitor, 1918), where he served until June 1919, at which time he became the Ohio Conference president (Visitor, 1919).

In April 1920, Elder Heckman left Ohio to become the president of the Southeastern Union Conference (Visitor, 1920), which office he held for the next twelve years. In May 1932, Elder William H. Heckman was called to be the president of the Arkansas-Louisiana Conference. In April 1933, Elder Heckman answered the call to take the presidency of the Greater New York Conference. After serving there for about three years, he was called to be the president of the Atlantic Union Conference in 1936.

The Times, Shreveport, Louisiana, August 3, 1932

Final Months

Elder William H. Heckman ca. 1937

At the October 1938 Autumn Council held in Battle Creek, Michigan, the General Conference arranged for Elder W. H. Heckman to spend about six months visiting the mission stations in the Central European Division. He set sail for Beirut, Syria, on November 22, 1938. He spent some time in Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt, and was headed to Damascus when he began to have health problems. A cable message dated December 25 stated that he was seriously ill and another message the next day emphasized that it was critical. Elder William H. Heckman passed away on December 27, 1938. Arrangements were made for embalming and his body was shipped aboard the S. S. Excambion to Boston and then transported to South Lancaster, Massachusetts for funeral services and burial (Gleaner, 1939).


(1903, Feb. 4). The West Michigan Herald, p. 1.

(1905, May 3). Ibid., p. 4.

(1907, Dec. 18). Ibid., p. 4.

(1912, Oct. 17). Southern Union Worker, p. 1.

(1913, Jan. 2). Field Tidings, p. 4.

(1918, Jan. 17). Columbia Union Visitor, p. 1.

(1919, Jun. 5). Ibid., p. 3.

(1920, Mar. 25). Ibid., p. 5.

(1939, Jan. 4). Atlantic Union Gleaner, pp. 1, 2.

Ancestry.com. (2021, May 18). William Henry Heckman. Retrieved from ancestry.com.

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