APU is Part of Our Family
Thelma Heinrich is quick to tell you that family is the focal point of her life. She’s very proud of her three sons, seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. They’re not only a close family but all are best friends.
APU became part of the Heinrich family when Ed Heinrich, Thelma’s husband, was invited to join the APU Board of Trustees back in the seventies. Ed cherished his years on the board and especially enjoyed long-range campus planning. Ed’s work as a Board of Trustees member was so appreciated and respected by APU that he was conferred an honorary degree, and Ed considered it a privilege to walk with the graduating class just a year before his passing.
Thelma was raised in a Christian home and accepted Christ when she was 11 years old. She believes strongly in the power of prayer and saw her prayers answered early in life. She said, “I prayed for a husband and got the perfect husband.” Ed and Thelma met on a blind date and were married shortly after World War ll. Ed served as an Air Force pilot in the war. They were married just one month short of 60 years when Ed passed away in 2005.
In 1950 Ed and Thelma started the Deccofelt Corporation in the garage of their home in Glendora, California. Today their son, Jerry Heinrich, is the president of the corporation, and continues the successful business. Jerry received his MBA from APU while serving as resident of Deccofelt Corporation.
The Heinrich home was a God-centered home and strongly believed that God blessed their family and took care of them all of their lives. Thelma expressed it this way: “How can you raise three boys without God?” One of her favorite Bible verses is found in Hebrews 13:8: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
Thelma and Ed were always active in church, where they directed youth groups. The Heinrich home was one of the first to have a color television. After church on Sunday evenings, church friends would gather in their home to watch color TV and eat Thelma’s delicious cakes. They also enjoyed hosting family, church, civic, Little League, and Boy Scout groups.
Thelma believes the greatest strength today of APU is its age-old motto, God First. She says, “Students from APU are going all over the world and making a difference. It’s unbelievable how APU has become known worldwide. The students of APU are truly servants and their faith is so genuine.”
The involvement and contributions of the Heinrich family are found on plaques throughout the campus. Thelma has especially enjoyed supporting the drama department. Their greatest contribution has been placing the Heinrich rental property in an APU Charitable Remainder Trust. Thelma says, “It’s a very good investment for me because taxes are avoided, I have an income for life, and most of all the remainder goes to APU for student scholarships and other worthwhile causes.”