Ralph Heavrin Jr. had a passion for building houses, longtime colleague Denny Van Moorleghem said Friday.
Heavrin was born in Omaha in 1928 and attended Omaha University for a couple of years, then worked for Wilson and Co. meatpackers. But his heart was in construction.
In 1960, he started Pacesetter Homes in Omaha, now known as Regency Homes. Since that time, the company has built 6,000 dwellings here, Van Moorleghem said.
Heavrin died Feb. 12 in San Diego, where he moved when he retired about 20 years ago. He was 85.
His houses can be seen across the metropolitan area. He first worked on the Mockingbird subdivision, Van Moorleghem said, and locations of his other homes include Lakeshore, Millard Highland, Quail Hollow and villas at Walnut Lake.
The builder was one of the first in the city to create fully decorated model homes so potential purchasers could see what they were buying, said Van Moorleghem, vice president of Regency Homes. Some of his models were featured in Better Homes and Gardens magazine.
Outside of work, he pursued several interests.
“He liked to experiment with things, from scuba diving to hiking,” Van Moorleghem said.
He also golfed, flew twin-engine airplanes and had two 64-foot boats.
A memorial service was held Saturday at the Heafey-Heafey-Hoffmann Dworak-Cutler West Center Chapel.
Survivors include daughters Joyce Ann Voorhees of Omaha and Deborah L. Voorhees of Grand Island, Neb.; and son Brian Heavrin, sister Rita Heavrin and brothers Ronald and Russell Heavrin, all of Omaha. He had four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.