Times West Virginian
Criss Alan Heston, 61, of Logan, departed this life Wednesday (March 20, 2013) at Logan Regional Medical Center after a courageous battle with lung cancer.
He was born May 19, 1951, at Clarksburg, the son of Glenda and Alex Laska, and the late Paul Heston.
Criss graduated with the class of 1969, East Fairmont High School. He joined the military with several of his classmates and was shipped to Vietnam after training.
After returning from the military, he became certified and employed by Consol Coal Co. as an underground electrician. After the mine where he worked closed, he became a certified X-ray welder, employed in North Carolina. Criss was accomplished in several fields.
He became a computer programmer after attending Computer Tech, Pittsburgh, Pa. He went to work in Logan for Lisa Jan Haddox, DDS, to computerize/manage her office. He graduated with an AAS degree, with honors, from Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College.
He was also an accomplished ham radio operator. He tested for the Merchant Marines, and with the combination of computer science (hardware and software) and radio equipment expertise, he was enlisted as a radio officer aboard ship. He traveled the world over two plus times. He would always call home whenever the ship docked, no matter which country he would be in.
After a compound fracture and more than 20 surgeries, the only place he could work was from home. He was appointed National Digital Training Coordinator for Air Force MARS, (Military Affiliate Radio Stations). MARS provide communications when FEMA is activated and are a part of the National Communications System, which operated under the Department of Homeland Security.
When President Bush declared a state of emergency in Washington, D.C., for the inauguration, FEMA was activated and Criss was a part of the presidential inauguration security communications network from his radio station at his home on Garrett Fork. Criss held a commercial radio officer’s license and has also worked with SHARES, a national communications system.
He monitored the air waves during Hurricane Katrina and the 9-11 emergencies in New York. On one occasion, Criss picked up the emergency transmission of a sinking ship in the Gulf of Mexico. He notified the U.S. Coast Guard, and the crew of the ill-fated ship was rescued.
His hobbies included golf, travel and the all-time love, riding Harley Davidson motorcycles.
He was a member of the Moose Lodge, lifetime member of the VFW Post No. 9916, member of the APACHE Motorcycle Club, Logan. The APACHE Club does all charitable work/runs imaginable.
In addition to his mother and dad (Glenda/Alex), survivors include his wife of 25 years, Lisa Haddox-Heston, DDS; a daughter, Cybil Heston Moran of Fairmont; sisters, Nora Heston of Raleigh, N.C., and Janet Heston of Fairmont; two brothers-in-law, Chris Haddox (Susan) and Dr. David Haddox (Marsha); one aunt living, Rosa Lee Babbitt (Charley) of Ohio; two uncles, Ray Heston (Judy) of Fairmont and Peter Laska (Warene) of Arizona; as well as several nieces, nephews and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his grandmother, Nora V. Phillips; his grandfather, John Thomas Phillips; Noreen Duncan (Ernest), Ohio; and John Thomas Phillips Jr., Oahu, Hawaii.
His family requests that memorial donations be made to the American Cancer Society, 122 South High St., Morgantown, WV 26505.
Criss’ internment took place March 23, 2013, Forest Lawn Cemetery, Pecks Mill. A Celebration of Life will be held April 6, 2013, at the First Presbyterian Church in Logan, with Pastor Doug Craven officiating.
Online condolences may be made to www.fordfuneralhomes.com.