Jody R. "Joe" Heitkotter, 74, passed away of complications due to Covid, October 28 , 2020 at Robert J. Dole Medical Center, Wichita, Kansas. He was born May 14, 1946 in Smith Center, Kansas to parents Perry and Sylvia (Marshall) Heitkotter.


Joe graduated from McPherson High School with the class of 1964. He was a Vietnam Veteran, serving in the United States Navy as a medic aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise from 1967 to 1973. Joe earned many badges of honor exemplifying that of a dedicated, disciplined sailor. His service was life-changing and helped to define who he was.


Joe was a long-haul truck driver and delivered oxygen and boilers all over the country. He worked for many companies including Kansas Oxygen, Superior Boiler, Dahlsten Truck Line, and Mike’s Equipment. He truly loved his current job, working for T & T Transportation, driving a van for railroad crews, taking them to and from the train. Joe was a member of the Buhler Mennonite Brethren Church. He was a former member of the Buhler Jaycees. He was a people person and enjoyed sharing his classic 1967 Dodge Coronet 440. However, his family meant everything to him and his grandchildren were the center of his world.


Joe met the love of his life Vanetta A. "Van" Griess, while working construction at JH Shears Son. They married on April 13, 1974 in Hutchinson, Kansas. She survives of their home in Hutchinson.


Joe is also survived by his daughters, Tonya Jo Bush of Inman, Kansas, and Kathryn Wilken of Newton, Kansas; son William (Thom)Wilken of Rodgers, Arkansas.; sonin-law, Chad Shriver of Salina, Kansas; brothers, Kenneth Heitkotter (Willene), Douglass, Kansas, Lavon "Skeeter" Heitkotter, McPherson, Kansas, Galen Heitkotter, McPherson, Kansas and Ronald Heitkotter (Connie), Pittsburg, California; seven grandchildren; Dominic Martinez (Erika), Alexis Martinez, Marcela Martinez, Gavin Bush, Tawny Bush, Gage Shriver and Madison Shriver; aunts, Wanda Marshall , Smith Center, Kansas and Cleta Marshall, Wichita, Kansas; several cousins and friends.


Joe was preceded in death by his parents; daughter, Tammy Shriver; brother, Gregory Heitkotter; uncles, Dean Marshall , Bud Marshall, Orville Heitkotter and Vernon Heitkotter.


Friends may pay their respects to Joe at the Buhler Mortuary, Thursday, November 5, 2020 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. The family will not be present. Graveside service will be 3:00 p.m., Friday, November 6, 2020 at Buhler East Cemetery, Buhler, KS. Social distancing and masks are required. You are welcome to bring a lawn chair for your comfort. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to help defray funeral expenses. Checks may be made to Buhler Mortuary and sent to Buhler Mortuary, P.O. Box 589, Buhler, KS. 67522.