Richard Lloyd Heiny, 90, died On November 19, 2020 at Primrose Retirement Community in Midland, MI, surrounded by loved ones.
Richard was born in Gunnison, Colorado on November 25, 1929. He grew up in rural Eastern Colorado and western Kansas, and valued his childhood experiences milking cows and herding sheep. He attended the University of Kansas and Penn State University, graduating with a PhD in Chemical Engineering, and remained a lifelong fan of their sports teams.
He moved to Midland in 1954 to work at the Dow Chemical Company, where he held a wide variety of positions research, development, engineering and, corporate product management, and finally Director of Discovery Development. “It was a great experience,” Richard said once in an interview. “I can truly say that I looked forward to going to work every single day.” After his retirement in 1986, he co-founded OmniTech and Vantek.
Richard married Suzanne Nasfay in 1958 and they spent more than 50 years together in their house on Brown Court, raising three children. Sue entered King’s Daughters in 2014, where Richard visited her daily. He was a devoted family man, with a huge spirit of adventure and mischief. He developed a nightly cutthroat game of Hearts, in which the loser would have to wash the dinner dishes—a tradition that continues to this day among family members. In the 1970s, Richard put high-density polyethylene runners on the family’s twelve-foot toboggan, turning it into a lightning-fast hurtling missile that shot off the end of the City Forest toboggan track, much to the delight of all involved.
Richard was known for his love of travel, wine, gardening, coin-collecting, dogs, golf, (sometime dogs and golf—his golden retrievers were a familiar sight on the Currie links), and especially skiing. Often on ski trips, Richard lugged a huge picnic basket—filled with plates, silverware, a fondue pot with Sterno, cheese, French bread, white wine and wine glasses—to the warming hut at the top of Boyne Highlands so everyone could dine in style.
Richard was a devoted and loyal friend who often said he was unbelievably lucky to have so many friendships. The friends he made at the Young People’s Business Group in the 1950s were lifelong ones—especially Gilbert Harter, with whom Richard was exceptionally close. On an early trip to Mexico, Richard once stood with one foot on the jetway and one foot on the airplane to prevent it from leaving until Gilbert could make the flight rather than leave without him. In later years, Richard’s discussion club and Coffee Chaos group were a source of great comfort to him.
He was a kind and enthusiastic neighbor, organizing countless court picnics and always contributing his special homemade ice cream—neighborhood children would line up for “samples” as soon as they heard the sound of the ice cream maker churning. He built a two-story treehouse in the backyard with a balcony, rope ladder, and fireman’s pole that was beloved by neighborhood children years after Richard’s own children had gone away to college. He was very civic-minded and gave generously of time and effort to the Kiwanis Club, the Midland 4-H Community, and the Midland Methodist United Church.
Richard is survived by his wife Suzanne; sons Christopher and Michael; daughter Katherine; and six loving and much-loved grandchildren.
A memorial will be held at a later time. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider donations to the Lewy Body Dementia Association.
November 25, 1929 - November 19, 202011/25/192911/19/2020
Richard Lloyd Heiny
1 Tree has been planted in memory of Richard Heiny.