Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Byron L. Heusdens

Byron L. Heusdens, 69, entered eternal life on Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2008. He was born in Racine, on Sept. 4, 1939, to the late Anthony and Eleanor Heusdens.

He was united in marriage to his most wonderful bride, Donna J. (Lambert) on August 29, 1987; he loved her dearly and passionately. Byron led a very full and active life and he loved to smile and laugh.

Byron was the lead singer, pedal steel guitar player and manager of the four-piece variety dance band the FANTASTICS since its founding in April 1963, performing for private parties and clubs between Chicago and Green Bay; and the lead singer in the '50s and '60s band No Illusions and Remember When. An actor and model for many years, he acted in six feature films, dozens of industrial films and television commercials; he modeled for numerous national and regional print ads with cover shots on many magazines.

He played several character parts in six live radio shows with the WGTD 91.1 Radio Players during the 2006-2007 seasons and in March 2007 had a leading role in the World Premiere of the play “And on the Eighth Day” in Chicago, IL. Byron also portrayed Abe Lincoln in print and film as well as “Lincoln Live” for many events, and was a member of the Association of Lincoln Presenters for over twenty years. He studied privately with voice teacher Arthur Jacobson for over twelve years.

He had the very fortunate opportunity to study three summers with Lee Strasberg of the Actors Studio. He played the lead in numerous Racine Theatre Guild productions and was a past board member and treasurer in the late 1960s. He was President/Secretary of Local 42, American Federation of Musicians, for many years and served on its executive board for years prior to being the Vice President and President/Secretary. Byron was an active board member of the Chicago Local of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) for many years and attended many conventions as an elected delegate.

He enjoyed boating on Lake Michigan for over forty years and was a member of all three yacht clubs at different times; a founding and charter member of the Racine Power Squadron; and earned his airplane pilot's license in 1976. Byron also enjoyed bowling and was the President of the Lutheran Men of America bowling league in Racine for over twelve years and a member for over twenty years. He was a member of the Racine Cable Commission, tirelessly working to bring Public Access Television to Racine (now CAR 25). He was the creator, producer and host of his own cablevision program “Talentscope” for over eight and a half years in Kenosha.

He was a graduate of the American College with a degree in business and worked toward communications degree at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. Byron was the President of Altra Financial Consulting Service and also a marketing consultant to various Christian retirement communities in SE Wisconsin and the eastern United States. He was the first Executive Director of the Bay Pointe Assisted Living/Atrium campus. He was the Administrator of the first Health Maintenance Organization in Wisconsin, head-quartered in Milwaukee and was a member of the American Society of Medical Association Executives. Byron believed in Our Savior Jesus Christ and was always available to help his family, neighbors and friends. There is no question that he will be greatly missed by all those who loved him and laughed with him.

Byron is survived by his devoted wife, Donna; two brothers, Howard R. (Priscilla, deceased) Heusdens, Charles J. (Elaine) Heusdens and their daughter, Kathleen; Godchild Breeanne Heusdens (daughter of nephew Don (Angie) Heusdens and their daughter, Kaylin; sister-in-law Linda Michalski, Wausau, WI, Judy (Dave) Chicka, El Paso, TX, and Edie (Paul, deceased) Mueller, Waukesha; mother-in-law Myrtle Lambert; and other nieces, nephews, aunts and friends locally and nationally too numerous to list. He was preceded in death by a niece, Donna R. Heusdens.

Funeral services will be held in the Wilson Funeral Home, 1212 Lathrop Ave., on Friday, Dec. 5, 2008, at 7 p.m. with Rev. John Fleming officiating. Friends and family may meet at the funeral home on Friday evening from 4 p.m. until the time of service. Burial will be held on Saturday, Dec. 6, 2008, at West Lawn Memorial Park.

A special thanks to Dr. Richard Odders and his staff, Dr. Hari and his staff at Froedtert Hospital as well as many friends and family who assisted in Byron's care.

Wilson Funeral Home
1212 Lathrop Ave., Racine 262-634-3361

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