Tom Heeren, 1958—2011
Heeren Brothers co-owner victim in mass murder.
Tom and Rebecca Heeren
Tom Heeren, co-owner of Heeren Brothers Produce, a wholesale distributor of fruit and vegetables located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was one of seven victims in a mass murder in Grand Rapids on July 7.
According to press reports, Heeren, 52, his wife, Rebecca, their daughter Jennifer, and their granddaughter Kamrie Heeren Dantzler, were all killed in their home, allegedly by Rodrick Dantzler, who also killed three other people and then killed himself while holding still three more people hostage.
Dantzler was married to Jennifer Heeren, The Grand Rapids Press reported, and Kamrie was their 12-year-old daughter. The three other victims were a family, one of whom had had a previous relationship with Dantzler.
According to The Grand Rapids Press, it was the deadliest crime spree in Grand Rapids history. Dantzler was reportedly being treated for mental illness.
Tom Heeren was a third-generation member of the Heeren family, having spent his entire career in sales and marketing of fruits and vegetables.
Heeren Brothers was started in 1933 by brothers John, Sr., and Elmer Heeren, and the business was incorporated in 1962 with their two sons, cousins John “Sonny” and Bob. The third-generation operators of Heeren Brothers included four of Bob’s sons and three of Sonny’s, including Tom. The company’s distribution network includes Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana.
Hal Roy, CEO of Heeren Brothers, said in a statement: "As a third-generation member of the Heeren family, Tom spent his entire career in sales and marketing at the Grand Rapids wholesaler of fruits and vegetables. As one of his favorite customers recently said, Tom was rough around the edges but had the warmest heart of anyone he knew. Tom was incredibly dedicated to our business and to his family. We remember him as a man with the kindest of hearts who would give you the shirt off his back."