(Thursday - January 21, 2021) - Donald P. Heilala, DPM, retired podiatrist, of Republic, Michigan, formerly of Iron Mountain, passed away at home on Tuesday, January 19, Following a lengthy illness in the care of his family and caregiver.

Dr. Heilala was a podiatrist in private practice in Iron Mountain and then Kingsford for 34 years. He was on the medical staff at DCHS for 34 years. Dr. Heilala was also a podiatry consultant at the Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center for many years..

Dr. Heilala was born February 20, 1952, in Marquette to Lorraine (Ringuette) Heilala and Ralph Heilala. He graduated in 1971 from Republic-Michigamme High School and then went on to graduate with a B.S. from Northern Michigan University. He graduated from the Illinois College of Podiatric Medicine in Chicago, with his DPM in 1983.

Don was a pivotal member of the Republic-Michigamme High School boys varsity basketball team with his 3 point shot (back before it was a 3 point shot). Don enjoyed basketball, downhill skiing, golf, the family dog Max, family vacations, and going to camp with his friends during hunting season. He also enjoyed his crew at B & B Tire. He enjoyed his visits with family in Alaska, especially visiting with his nephew and fellow podiatrist, Matt.

He was a past member of the Elks, IMK Rotary, Pine Grove Country Club, and the Chippewa Club locally. He was a member of the Michigan Podiatric Medical Association, the American Podiatric Medical Association, and was board certified in Foot and Ankle Surgery by the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. He was also past president of the UP Chapter of the Michigan Podiatric Medical Association.

Dr. Heilala is survived by his wife of 42 and 1/2 years Patti (Petersen). They were married at St. Francis Xavior Church in Spalding, Michigan. He is further survived by his three sons: Andrew Heilala of Austin Texas; Dr. Adam (Lindsey) Heilala of Columbus, Ohio; and Alex Heilala of Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is survived by his brothers, James (Myrna) Heilala of Sun City West, Arizona, and Robert (Barbara) Heilala of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. He is also survived by his mother-in-law, Anne Petersen; his aunt and uncle, Dolores and Robert Poag; sisters-in-law, Beth (Brian) Waitrovich, Susan (Mark) Lemke, Ruth (Terry) Szapa, Anne (Jeff) Heino and brothers-in-law, W. Mark (Denice) Petersen and Nick (Lisa) Petersen; as well as numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Ralph and Lorraine Heilala; father-in-law, Walter Petersen; brother-in-law, Leo Vish and his beloved dog, Max.

Special thank you to his physician and best friend Michael Saigh, MD, the Emergency department, the hospitalists, the ICU nurses and Radiation Oncology at Dickinson County Hospital who were so good to him.

A Catholic Mass and Celebration of Life will be held for Dr. Heilala in late spring or early summer.

Condolences may be expressed to the family of Dr. Donald Paul Heilala online at:

The family has entrusted the Erickson-Rochon & Nash Funeral Home with the arrangements.


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