Midwest long-timers are mourning the July 19 passing of Hank Heiser, one of the more colorful figures that ever came from the distribution end of the business. Before retirement, he was manager of Empire’s and then Bally’s dealership in Livonia, Mich., just outside of Detroit. A native of the Philadelphia coin-op clan, Hank was a resident of a retirement home in the Detroit area when he died at the age of 91.
Older operators, as well as sales people from various manufacturers in the jukebox and games industry, will well remember Hank’s “Empire Folies” annual show at the Livonia depot where he and various company employees would literally put on a musical show based on situations like a skit in an AMOA Expo hotel suite. The image of Hank on-stage himself conducting classical music playing on a phonograph is indelible in many memories.
Hank was celebrated at a funeral at the Ira Kaufman Chapel and interred at Beth El Memorial Park in Livonia. He is survived by daughter Joyce (the actress) Heiser, sons Tony and David, five grandchildren and a great-grandson named Brody. Old friends wishing to make a contribution to honor their old friend should visit Jewish War Veterans at www.jwv.mi.org. Rest in peace.