Kenneth A. Heiser

A Gathering of Family and Friends

12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Bethel Lutheran Church - Highlands Campus
504 Frontage Road
Hudson WI, 54016

Memorial Service

2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Bethel Lutheran Church - Highlands Campus
504 Frontage Road
Hudson WI, 54016

Hudson community leader and banker Kenneth A. “Ken” Heiser, 75, passed away October 22, 2022 at Regions Hospital in St. Paul of COVID-19.

Heiser was born June 24, 1947 in Dickinson, North Dakota, the son of Andrew and Pauline Heiser. He grew up on a farm just north of the city limits, on the edge where the scenic Badlands begin. He graduated from Dickinson State College in 1969 with a degree in business education and sociology, including a certificate in teaching.

After graduating, he briefly taught school in Mandan before deciding the big city was the place for him and relocated to St. Paul, MN. There he took a job as an internal auditor with First National Bank of St. Paul, beginning a 35-year career in banking. After 10 years in downtown St. Paul, he was tapped by A.J. Huss, Jr. to help him run First National Bank of Hudson, WI. His hard work and knack for getting things done made him rapidly ascend to the position of president and CEO. After the sale of First National to Associated Bank in 2007, Heiser stayed around to keep his long-time customers happy. He retired in 2009 and was elected to the board of Fidelity Bank in Edina in 2012.

Heiser married Lynn Wargin in 1972 and they raised two sons, Andy (Anne) of Hudson and Jason (Ann) of Afton. Heiser is survived by his wife and sons; grandchildren Andy (A.J.) Heiser Jr. and Marquelle Heiser; siblings Joan, Amy, Robert, Jerry, and Allen. He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Donald and Gary, and sister Marge.

Heiser was a consummate leader in the city of Hudson. He organized and served as the first president of the Hudson Community Foundation, the Hudson Area Development Corporation and the St. Croix County Economic Development Corporation and provided leadership for the development of the St. Croix Business Park.

He served on the boards of both Hudson Hospital and the Hudson Memorial Hospital Foundation and chaired the capital campaign when the new hospital was built. He chaired the capital campaign when the Hudson hockey arena was built and served on the organizing and fundraising committees for the St. Croix Valley YMCA.

Heiser also served many years on the boards of the William H. Phipps Foundation and the Phipps Center for the Arts. An active boater, he chaired the long-range planning committee for the St. Croix Marina, which resulted in the construction of a new clubhouse.

He also served as a member of the Endowment Committee of the Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center and helped raise funds for the construction of its Wisconsin Campus and visitor center. He also was a board member and president of the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce, served as treasurer of the St. Croix County Historical Society and was an active member of the Hudson Lions and Rotary Clubs. He was also a member and past “Grand Poobah” of The Philosophical Gentlemen, a 40-member men’s social group that meets weekly for lunch.

Heiser was also active in both the state and national banking organizations. He served on the Community Bankers Council of the American Bankers Association and was a member and served on the Government Relations Committee of the Wisconsin Bankers Association.

Heiser’s dogged determination and positive attitude helped him deal with several health issues after retirement. In 2009, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, which went into remission after several rounds of chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant. He successfully battled it again when it returned in 2012.

After beating cancer, in 2017 he was diagnosed with a nerve disorder that left him unable to move his legs and confined to a wheelchair. Again, he fought back and was able to regain his weight, strength and ability to walk. He was diagnosed with Castleman Disease in 2019, but knocked back its worst symptoms to continue enjoying life. Finally, in August 2022, he contracted COVID-19. Though he was vaccinated and boosted, his previous ailments left his immune system diminished and unable to fend off COVID’s progressively destructive effects on his lungs. After he could no longer breathe without a ventilator, he passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving wife and sons.

A Memorial Service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, October 28, 2022 at Bethel Lutheran Church – Highlands Campus, 504 Frontage Rd., Hudson. A Gathering of Family and Friends will be held two hours prior to the service from 12:00-2:00p.m. at the church.

In lieu of flowers, memorials in Heiser’s name are preferred. All donations will be dispersed to several charitable causes and organizations in the Hudson area that were important to him when he was alive.


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One Response

  1. My name is Leroy Herauf. I grew up south of Dickinson and Ken of course was north but we really didn’t know each other until we registered at Dickinson State College in 1969. From the git go I tried to impress on him how it was important to respect your elders, I was 4 days older than him.
    We hung around together quite a bit and at the beginning of our junior year we decided to live together and rented a room at his cousin’s place, AL and Mike Schwindt.
    The following year we met up with trouble, Mike Fiedler and Leroy Bauer. We were having good time until somebody reported us to the college and we weren’t in approved housing. We were notified that we were formally expelled from college, but could plead our case. So sheepishly we did that and weren’t expelled, but on probation for the rest of the year.
    Ken and I decided we would move to the Twin Cities after he graduated, I graduated 1 quarter earlier. So I moved there to scope it out and waited for him. We both bought new cars.I had a 1970 Olds Cutlass and he had a Monte Carlo. On occasion we would have races. He had an automatic and I had a 4 speed. He would beat me off the line, but in 4th gear I would pass him.
    Together we covered a lot of the town and had a lot of fun times. I got to know some of Ken’s work buddies and in particular I remember Pat Donnelly, he was always ready to enjoy life.
    Then one night that I wasn’t with Ken and was already in bed he wakes me up and introduces me to a girl he met by the name of Lynn. It was almost like when a cat catches a mouse they are proud to show you.
    Turns out I met my future wife shortly thereafter and Ken and I were in each other’s wedding.
    In 1980 I bought some property near Hudson and planned to live there and retire there. Some years later Ken and Lynn’s son, Andy, bought property there too and we were next door neighbors.
    In 1984 I was transferred to Austin, TX with 3M, but we still kept in touch and we surely will miss him.
    Lynn you were lucky to have such a guy as your friend, partner, and husband. God bless you and your family.

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