Heidi L. Keiser
January 14th, 2023

Rest in peace

Heidi Laurelle Fenton Keiser was born on July 8, 1979 to Charles “Chuck” Fenton and Karen Tetzloff Fenton, the oldest of their three daughters (Heidi, Elizabeth “Betsy”, and Katherine “Kate”). She lived her childhood in Ypsilanti, MI, and went to Huron High in Ann Arbor, MI. Heidi was blessed to be taught violin under the tutelage of an amazing teacher who modeled faith as well as musical skill. She added viola as a young teen and enjoyed performing in her nationally recognized high school orchestra. After graduating from high school, Heidi studied Anthropology and Sociology at the University of Michigan. During her college years, she was very involved in Christian community and actively participated in University Christian Outreach, Detroit Summer Outreach, and the Word of Life Community, where she was deeply appreciated by the members in her small groups.

Always a deep thinker who took her faith very seriously, Heidi began studying theology at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit. Wanting to pursue an eventual pontifical degree, she went to the Angelicum in Rome, Italy, for the intensive one year propaedeutic philosophy program offered by that institution. It was in Rome, or, technically, Castel Gandolfo, that I met her for the first time. She was tall, with a broad smile, long dark hair, and a very fancy wide-brimmed hat. The young Kevin Keiser pretty much knew she was out of his league. But after a walk on (American) Thanksgiving Day in the Villa Borghese in which we were abandoned to ourselves by our friends; and after a debate in a student-organized symposium that pretty much split down the lines of “Heidi and Kevin contra mundum”; and after many times walking her home up the 400 steps to the summit of Monteverde, things began to click between Heidi and me. We met in October, 2006. We began dating officially in January, 2007. I proposed in May. And we were married in September.

Heidi was the mother of our five beautiful children: Monica was born in Michigan, Bastian was born in Nashville, TN, and Nina, Grace, and Margaret were born here in Minnesota. Heidi homeschooled our children, organizing her own curriculum that drew inspiration from Charlotte Mason, Susan Wise Bauer, and several other educational theorists that emphasized content and curiosity. But the final product was all her own. Always detail-oriented and organized, she left several notes about her homeschooling curriculum and created several booklists for age-appropriate volumes on the same theme so that several kids in the family could all be studying similar material at the same time. The Keiser household regularly had over 200 library books borrowed at a time, all of which were returned before or on their due date because of Heidi’s efficient systems.

She was the person I talked to at the end of the day, the person I bounced my ideas off of, the person who would and did often tell me when I was engaging in confirmation bias or broad-brushstroke thinking. We enjoyed each other’s company so very much. Heidi was also an avid reader with several subjects under her study at any one time (A.I., themes of science and religion, education theory, history, mathematics, contemporary physics, etc). Most of what I know of anything after the 1980s is because of books she brought into the house and left around, sometimes purposely, for me to happen upon and read.

Finally, she also had a strong bent for spirituality, reflecting often on St. John of the Cross, St. Theresa of Avila, St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. Augustine, etc. She was in the first steps of preparation to write a work of fiction that would teach Catholic spirituality to children. She was a great companion, a beautiful person in all ways, a remarkable woman, wife, and mother, the light of my life.

After 3 days of illness at home and 12 days in the hospital under intensive care, she passed away at 5:28 PM on January 14th, 2023, due to severe and catastrophic effects of Toxic Shock Syndrome from a Group A Strep infection. It was too soon for her to go. But she is at peace from the suffering now. In hope of the resurrection, I must wait to see her again, when the circle is finally broken, by and by. In the meantime, my family must learn to live with the loss of her earthly presence. Please pray for her speedy entry into Paradise. Pray for us. Pray for me.

Heidi is survived by her husband, Kevin (42); her five children: Monica (14), Sebastian “Bastian” (11), Christina “Nina” (7), Grace (5), and Margaret “Meg” (11 months); her parents Rev. Charles Fenton and Karen Tetzloff Fenton, her sisters Elizabeth Archibald (husband, Mark), and Lt. Col. Katherine Phillips (husband, Joseph).

Mass of Christian Burial was at 11 AM on Tuesday, January 24th, 2023, at St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Parish, St. Peter campus in Delano, Minnesota. Visitation was held from 4-8 PM on Monday, January 23rd, 2023 in St. Martha’s Hall of St. Peter campus. Visitation continued on Tuesday from 10-11 AM prior to the Mass. Interment was in Calvary Cemetery, Delano.

The Mass was live-streamed on the Iten Funeral Home Youtube page, through the link provided below: