Arthur J. "Jim" Heins, award-winning teacher and scholar, gifted actor, and noted local raconteur, passed away April 14th, 2021 at the age of 89. He was preceded in death by his loving wife of 59 years, Nancy, his parents, R.C. "Scoot" Heins and Emelyn Heins, his younger sister Joyce, and his two daughters Barbara and Mary. He is survived by sons Michael (Jean) of Cocoa Beach, FL and Robert (Lyndal) of Kingston, WA, as well as grandchildren Amanda, Laura, and James.
Jim was born May 30, 1931 in Tigerton, WI. Matriculating to the University of Wisconsin on a Naval ROTC scholarship, his studies there culminated in a PhD in Economics in 1961. Joining the University of Illinois Commerce faculty that same year, he taught and did research for 31 years and retired as Professor of Economics in 1991. He served as officer and ship's navigator on the USS Porterfield during the end of the Korean War.
He acted in 26 plays in various theater companies in Illinois and Wisconsin. Often cast in leading roles, he won statewide awards as best actor. Among numerous other media and public speaking appearances, he had an economics segment on the WCIA Noon News for a number of years. His other interests included extensive travel in the U.S. and across the world, philanthropy, Frank Sinatra history, dancing, and camping.
Jim had a way of engaging people in conversation in an endearing fashion. He would tell you he was probably the smartest person you'd ever meet, and somehow you believed it. He had a phenomenal memory for names, and would learn the name and hometown of each of his students and exhibit his mastery during the course of a semester.
His one great regret was that he was not able to live long enough to see confirmation of his Nobel Prize nomination. He wrote his memoirs, "Perfect Heins Sight", which can be found on his friends bookshelves or used on Amazon.
Owens Funeral Home will conduct a graveside service on Tuesday, April 20 at 2pm at Mt. Hope Cemetery, Champaign. Rev. Hank Sanford will officiate.
Memorials may be directed to the Champaign Public Library or the Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Jim Heins, please visit our floral store.
Champaign Public Library
200 West Green Street, Champaign IL 61820
Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club
600 N. Neil Street Unit 770, Champaign IL 61824