Fifty-two years ago this week on March 31, 1963, Huntley residents were shocked to learn of a tragic airplane accident that took the lives of two Huntley residents, one of them a Catholic priest.
The pilot, Robert Heinemann, 20, was born and raised in Huntley. He invited his brother, the Rev. Harold Heinemann, 27, and two friends to go for an evening flight. The two friends were priests from the Rockford diocese.
The weather was not an issue as they took off from the Crystal Lake Airport, but a dense fog arose, causing confusion as to their location. They mistook lights in a residential area near Woodstock for an airport and crashed, destroying telephone and electric lines. All four onboard the plane died from the impact.
The Rev. Harold Heinemann had been ordained to the priesthood in 1961 at St. Mary Church in Huntley. He and his brother Robert were the sons of Earl and Agnes Heinemann. The Heinemann family were early Huntley residents, having been involved with local home building and the Heinemann Hardware Store. Earl was the son of Henry and Mary Conley Heinemann.
The Heinemann family is buried in St. Mary Cemetery, Huntley.