Robert E. Heilman Jr. 1956 - 2021

Robert E. Heilman Jr., restaurateur, loving husband and father of three children, passed away at the age of 64. He was born May 15, 1956, in Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater, Florida, and took his last breaths at the same hospital in his beloved hometown on March 23, 2021, with his family by his side.

Robert (Bob), was president, chief operating officer and owner of Bob Heilman’s Beachcomber Restaurant in Clearwater Beach since 1984, when he took the helm from his father, Robert Heilman Sr. who first opened its doors in 1948. Bob continued the family tradition alongside his wife, Sheri, and now son, Robert Heilman III.

An entrepreneur and creative at heart, Bob expanded the enterprise in 1994 when he and Sheri opened the west coast-inspired Bobby's Bistro and Wine Bar. With his vast food and wine knowledge, he developed new menu creations and expanded the wine list. Bob and Sheri’s interest in winemaking translated into the creation of their own wine label, Foxy Rock, a Pinot Noir first planted in 2001 from their vineyard in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

Bob served as past president of the local chapter of the Florida Restaurant Association, and has been a longstanding member of the National Restaurant Association, the Clearwater Privateers social group, and Peace Memorial Presbyterian Church. Bob graduated from the prestigious Choate Rosemary Hall in 1974, followed by attendance at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, where he received his Bachelor of Science in 1978.

Friends and family who knew Bob well would describe him as charming, funny, generous and warm. A voracious reader, he had a passion for food, music and, most of all, his family. He was an original, and deeply loved.

Bob is survived by his wife, Sheri Heilman; and three children and their spouses, Kristin Heilman-Long and her husband, Matthew Long, of Portland, Oregon, Kassandra Bittner and her husband, Robb Bittner, of Orlando, and Robert Heilman III of Clearwater. Mr. Heilman is also survived by three grandchildren, Henry Long, Alice Long and Eloise Bittner; and three step-grandchildren, Matthew, Nicholas and Jackson Bittner.


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