During his best season, 1982, Mr. Heimer saddled 130 victories to finish ninth nationally, with his horses winning almost $1.2 million. Among his multiple-stakes winners over the years were Cheating Arthur, Clocks Secret, Kohen Witha K and Two Davids.
"He probably had more stakes horses in this area than any other trainer during the last 10 years," said Bill Fidati of Garden State Park, where Mr. Heimer was the leading trainer in 1986 and was the third-ranked trainer, with 135 winners, since 1985, when the park reopened. "Without question, he was one of the most successful trainers in this area in the last 10 years and without question one of the best known and had one of the biggest followings among racing fans."
A trainer for 17 years in the Philadelphia area, and for five years before that in the Midwest, Mr. Heimer managed fitness and race-preparation programs for dozens of thoroughbreds, selecting everything from the races they would enter to the medication for their injuries.
"He could be abrasive, but in his abrasiveness he was more challenging of horse racing, and the people in it, to reach out for new horizons," said Richard Phillips, attorney for the Pennsylvania Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and an associate and friend of 15 years.
"He's had the single largest influence on the racing industry in Pennsylvania, not only for his wins; his scope was much larger than that," Phillips said. "He was an innovator as far as medication, and was truly a leader amongst the people in the industry in striving to make the industry better."
The son of an Iowa accountant, Mr. Heimer started out set on a career as a math teacher. He was 14 when, at the urging of a neighbor, he landed a summer job walking horses for $25 a week in South Dakota.
It was then that his long neck brought him the nickname "Goose."
Horses remained a focus of Mr. Heimer's interest through high school and at
college in South Dakota, which he left during his senior year to concentrate his efforts on horses and racing.
Mr. Heimer found his way to Philadelphia in the early 1970s, when Dave
Vance, who was in charge of Dan Lasater's horses at Liberty Bell Park, brought him in as an assistant.
That stable led the nation in winners three straight years, from 1974 through 1976.
When Mr. Heimer went out on his own, success was not long in coming. His primary owner has been Stanley Joselson.
"You have to gamble a bit on young horses if you want to get anywhere in this game," Mr. Heimer once said of his strategy.
Those who knew Mr. Heimer said he had a natural eye for a picking a good horse and was selective about the people he chose to tend to them. He believed in hard work. He kept long hours.
And Mr. Heimer was not reticent to speak out about the issues of horse racing - from medical benefits for horsemen to the purse structure of the track.
He served on the boards of the Pennsylvania and the New Jersey Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Associations.
"He was absolutely totally respected on a national plane, and he was known as a person who was very quiet but at the same time had a great deal to say," said Phillips. " . . . In the 15 years I've been associated with him I never heard him say no to anybody. He had a real concern for other horsemen and their welfare."
Surviving are his wife, Anne Bonner Heimer; daughter, Marya; son, William G., known as "B.G.;" his mother, Gloria Trometer; a sister, and a brother.
There will be a viewing from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday and again at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at Fluehr Funeral Home, 864 Bristol Pike, Bensalem. A Mass of Christian Burial will be said at 10 a.m. Tuesday at St. Charles Borromeo Church, Hulmeville Road and Route 13, Bensalem. Interment is at Resurrection Cemetery, Bensalem.
Donations in his memory may be made to Camilla Hall, Immaculata, Pa. 19345.