A native of Williston, Ohio, Heins began his career as a copy boy for the Toledo [Ohio] Blade and later was a general assignment reporter covering labor issues, business, politics and sports.
At age 35 he entered the Evangelical Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, Ohio. He was ordained in 1949 and served as pastor of Prince of Peace and St. Paul Lutheran churches in Wayne, Mich., and Toledo, Ohio, respectively.
Heins returned to the Blade in 1956 as religion editor. In 1960 he was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for a series of articles he wrote after a world tour of church missions that included an interview with Albert Schweitzer, famed missionary doctor and theologian.
While in Minneapolis, Heins served with the Public Relations Society of America and the Religious Public Relations Council. He also edited the newsletter of the Religious Newswriters Association.
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