Thousand Oaks Big League: In Memory of Jan Heyne

Jan Heyne
Jan was born Aug. 9, 1954, at Greenville Air Force Base in Greenville, S.C. Jan was the first child born to Joseph and Dorothy Griffard. In 1955, the family moved to Southern California and Jan became a lifelong resident. Jan graduated from Canoga Park High School in 1972 and attended Humboldt State University, where she received a bachelor of arts degree in liberal studies in 1978. She met her future husband, Tim, at Humboldt and they were happily married for 26 years. Jan was a very loving and devoted mother to their children, Jeffrey (24), Christian (19) and Genevieve (14). Jan worked for 12 years at American Airlines in management reservations and in-flight services. She joined Amgen Inc. in 1993 and was a project specialist, providing key support to the executive team as well as being involved in numerous company initiatives. Jan had an intimate knowledge of Amgen's history and was an exemplary role model for living the Amgen values. Jan was a leader within the community as well, volunteering and helping those around her in any way she could. As part of the Amgen Staff Volunteer Program, she coordinated the company's involvement with the Conejo Meals Program for the homeless. She was an active member of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, serving as a deacon, as well as a member of numerous committees. Jan was also active in Thousand Oaks Little League, being a member of the auxiliary board for many years. Jan is survived by her loving husband, Tim; sons, Jeffrey and Christian; daughter, Genevieve; parents, Joseph and Dorothy Griffard; sister, Nanci (husband Mike) Bauman; brother Scott (wife Tiffany); and a host of loving family members and cherished friends. Jan will always be remembered as a vibrant, beautiful woman, both inside and outside. Her positive attitude and spirit were contagious. She was an inspiration for everyone who knew her, always making those around her feel special. She embraced life with passion and commitment and was always known as someone who put out a complete effort into whatever project or challenge she undertook. Jan was a woman of integrity, strength and character, living her Christian values to the fullest in all areas of her life. She loved to entertain family and friends on any and all occasions, and her sense of style and Southern hospitality were second to none. Jan touched all of our lives in a special and loving way and she will forever be in our hearts.

In Memory of Jan Heyne

It's only a game

Thousand Oaks team maintains a fresh perspective after tragedy

By Scott Keepfer

EASLEY -- Ed Kitchen is a baseball coach through and through, having been involved with the Thousand Oaks, Calif., Little League for 15 years and guiding that city's Juniors team to the world championship in 1994.

But despite the importance of the game -- even in a hotbed of baseball steeped in rich tradition such as Thousand Oaks -- Kitchen has managed to maintain a refreshing perspective.

"These are silly little games compared to our lives," said Kitchen, whose team is among the 10 competing in this week's Big League World Series. "I want our players to know that. I tell them to put things in perspective."

Kitchen has known that perspective for many years. His father was killed in an automobile accident on Ed's 14th birthday. "I tell my players to make sure they tell people that they love them," Kitchen said.

The 46-year-old baseball coach has possessed this important realization for years, but it was reinforced during a recent tragedy in Thousand Oaks, a city of approximately 121,000 residents located about 45 minutes north of Los Angeles.

Thousand Oaks is a safe place to live and raise a family, residents say, and according to the FBI, Thousand Oaks annually ranks among the nation's safest cities of more than 100,000 residents.

But statistics can't undo what occurred in Thousand Oaks on Memorial Day. That was the day a man with a gun went on a rampage, shooting five people -- killing three -- before placing a gun to his chin and taking his own life early the next morning.

Among the victims were Tim and Jan Heyne, a gregarious, well-liked couple, active in the community and forever stepping up to the plate when it came to helping the game of baseball in Thousand Oaks. Tim had served as president of the local Little League for five years, from 1995-2000; Jan had been on the league's Board of Directors.

Tim, who was shot four times in the back by the gunman, miraculously survived. He's at home now, still recovering from his wounds. Jan was shot by the gunman while bending over to assist a family friend who was the gunman's first victim. She died at the scene.

"The whole thing was just senseless," says Mike Sheehan, one of Thousand Oaks' assistant coaches.

The Thousand Oaks team has dedicated their season to Jan, and that gesture has taken on added meaning this week in Easley.

Jan was born in nearby Greenville.

"It was kind of strange when we found out we'd be coming here, and then realized that Jan was born just up the road," Sheehan said.

That fact has not been lost on the Thousand Oaks players, who to a man proudly wear team T-shirts with a dedication to Jan scripted on the front: "In memory of Janice Marie Heyne, 1954-2005."

Jan, who was born while her father, Joseph Griffard, was stationed at Donaldson Air Force Base, left with her family for southern California as a young child. But a hometown is always a hometown, and Jan always remembered hers.

Her aunt, Molly Bagwell, still lives in Greenville, and Jan and her family would meet family and friends for vacations every couple of years at Edisto on the South Carolina coast.

"It's strange, in a way -- she didn't grow up here, but everybody knew her by her Southern hospitality," Kitchen said.

And by her penchant for always trying to help others.

"She died because she was trying to help someone else," Kitchen said. "It was just a natural, instinctive thing for her to do."

When Tim Heyne learned that Thousand Oaks' Big League team would be headed to South Carolina, he wanted to come, too.

"He couldn't make it, so I've been calling him every day," said Kitchen, who coached Tim and Jan's oldest son, Jeffrey, on the 1994 world championship Juniors team. "Tim's one of the greatest people you could ever meet -- and Jan was the same way. We need more people in this country like them.

"Everytime I'm coaching, I'm thinking about her. I think we all are. That's why we've dedicated our quest for a championship in her honor."

Tim would love to see it happen. 

Daily News of Los Angeles (CA)


July 31, 2005  by Sean Ceglinsky


The Thousand Oaks under-18 Little League baseball team had one goal this summer: to qualify for the Big League World Series in honor of Tim Heyne and his wife, Jan.

Jan Heyne was among three people killed and Tim Heyne, the former president of Thousand Oaks Little League and longtime supporter of the program, was shot several times during two-day crime spree in late May by an Indiana man who shot himself to death in a Wal-Mart.

``Sometimes there are more important things in life than baseball,'' Thousand Oaks coach Ed Kitchen said. ``Jan and Tim are in the back of our minds every time we play. We're doing this for them.''

Thousand Oaks arrived Thursday in Easley, S.C., site of the World Series, and played a Canadian team Saturday.

The team faces a team from Venezuela, Latin America's representative, Monday hoping to advance out of pool play. The title game is scheduled Aug. 6.

Win or lose, Thousand Oaks is playing with heavy hearts.

``We're dedicating the season to them,'' Kitchen said.

Thousand Oaks has a strong pitching staff, led by D.J. Smith and Clayton Edwards, who graduated from Royal High of Simi Valley in June and will attend Division I programs next year. Smith is heading to UC Riverside, and Edwards will play at UC Santa Barbara.

``We knew we were going to do good and make it this far,'' Smith said. ``We're representing the West. We've had our eyes set on making it the whole way.''

The team's lineup is solid, headlined by Oaks Christian of Westlake Village graduate Chris Auten. The Cal State Northridge-bound slugger won the Big League home run contest Friday night, hitting nine homers, two more than his closest competitor.

``Auten was hitting bombs,'' said second baseman Phil Boscarino, another Royal grad, who will join Smith at UC Riverside. ``No one could touch him in the home run contest.''

Other top players include Oxnard's Edwin Quirarte, Thousand Oaks' David Fonseca and Westlake's Stephen Notaro.

``There are so many names that pop into my head when I think about the great players we've assembled here,'' Kitchen said. ``(The) great thing about this group is they've grasped the team concept quickly. That's why we've advanced this far.''

Thousand Oaks lost its opener at the District 13 playoffs, but it has won 11 consecutive games since the loss. During that span, Kitchen has remained in contact with Tim Heyne, who is recovering from his injuries.

``I keep him abreast of what is happening and remember Jan every step of the way,'' Kitchen said. ``This run we're on is amazing. It's bigger than life.''