Michael T. Heistand, 41


Michael Tom Heistand, 41, died on August 2, 2023, as a result of a farm accident outside of Dow City. He was born on February 14, 1982, in Denison, to Tom J. and Elizabeth Joan (Webb) Heistand. He grew up on the family farm in Dow City, where he, alongside his three siblings, spent countless hours exploring the nearby creek, playing tractors and dump trucks, chasing cows back in the pastures and instilling his passion for farming. He attended Dow City School before graduating from Boyer Valley High School in 2000. Michael could have easily started farming right after high school, but his passion for learning and thirst for knowledge drove him to higher education. He attended Iowa State University as well as studied in London and Texas.  In 2004, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business with a major in Finance with Distinction and Honors. Full of ideas and determination, Michael returned to the farm to live out his legacy. He quickly grew from having a rudimentary knowledge of what it meant to be a farmer to becoming the expert everyone relied on. For 19 years, Michael worked tirelessly alongside his dad and two brothers, continuing the Empire Land & Cattle legacy he loved and respected. Michael married the love of his life, Dana Swenson, on August 19, 2006. They went on to have two children, Giada and Thomas, who were his pride and joy. Michael was an amazing father that instilled the importance of faith, courage, curiosity, passion and commitment in their lives. He cherished every moment spent with his family, whether it was riding horses or walking the dog with Giada, playing catch or riding ATVs with Thomas or discovering great restaurants or talking about life over dinner and drinks with Dana. Michael valued traditions and had a strong sense of ‘doing what’s right’. His family was the heart of every decision he made whether it be on the farm or at home.  

Throughout his life, Michael made an indelible impact on various organizations and communities. As President of the Boyer Valley Agricultural Education Foundation, he played an instrumental role in shaping the future of agriculture while simultaneously serving as a teacher, mentor, and friend to members of the Boyer Valley FFA. Michael also proudly served as a board member and Past President of the Dunlap Golf Course. These positions allowed him to contribute his expertise and make a lasting difference. Michael was always up for an adventure. Throughout high school and college, he was the ringleader in organizing countless road trips and RV excursions. His happiest times were spent traveling and learning about new places with his friends and family. Michael also loved spending many weekends at his family home in Okoboji, boating, bike riding and leading conversations over cocktails. Michael could often be found on a golf course, at an Iowa State Cyclone football or basketball game, at a Kansas City Chiefs game or cheering loudly for his beloved Philadelphia Eagles. 

Michael was preceded in death by his grandparents, Orville Hagen Webb and Leonard and Edith Heistand; uncles, Terry Heistand, Dave Heistand, John Bartlett and Hugh Hayes; and cousin, Quentin Heistand. He is survived by his wife, Dana of Dunlap; children, Giada and Thomas; mother, Elizabeth Webb of West Des Moines; father, Tom Heistand of Dunlap; siblings, Cory (Elizabeth) Heistand of Dow City, Jason Heistand of Dow City and Jeana (Eric) Schultz of West Des Moines; grandmother, LaGene Webb of Denison; mother-in-law, Joni Swenson of Spirit Lake; father-in-law, Kevin Swenson of Soldier; siblings-in-law, Kelly (Teri) Swenson of Johnston and Kyle (Mackenzi) Swenson of Polk City; 18 nieces and nephews whom he cherished; and many other relatives and friends.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held on Friday, August 11, 2023, at the St. Patrick Catholic Church in Dunlap. Father Joel McNeil and Rev. Chip Borgstadt presided over the service. The musicians were Judy Thams, Jim and EveVonne Muff and Glen Ringenberg. The honorary pallbearers were Holly Heistand, Jack Heistand, Lily Heistand, Mia Heistand, Olivia Heistand, Hagen Heistand, Charlotte Heistand, Hugh Heistand, Leighton Schultz, Lucy Schultz, Connor Swenson, Evan Swenson, Griffin Swenson, Isla Swenson, Hadley Swenson, Oliver Swenson, Waylon Swenson and Remi Swenson. The pallbearers were Tyson Heistand, Ryan Webb, Joe Hanigan, Travis Sullivan, Justin Bellcock, Greg Thomsen, Sean Hanigan and Matt Burkhart. Michael’s final resting place is at the Dow City Cemetery.

Fouts Funeral Home in Dunlap was in charge of arrangements. www.foutsfuneralhome.com