I was shocked and saddened yesterday to learn of the passing of an admired research colleague, Heather Reisz. Heather died of natural causes on May 14, 2013, at the age of 42.
I had the honor of meeting and getting to know Heather as a presenter at our APRA MO-KAN Conference in 2011. As our chapter's Communications Director and a member of the conference committee, I was responsible for contacting Heather to get her bio and handouts. Her presentation on basic Prospect Research was a highlight of the conference and proved that nothing is ever too basic when it comes to thorough research. She also participated in our "Prospect Research Family Feud" game and was a hit with all of our conference attendees. Heather is on the far left in the photo below with her Family Feud "family."
In the short time we spent with Heather, it was easy to see that she was one of those people everyone wanted to be around because her laughter and positive energy were contagious. At the time, Heather was the Director of Research and Prospect Development at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. When my wife and I told Heather that Boston was one of our favorite cities, she told us to let her know the next time we were in town as she'd love to show us around and give us a tour of the museum. I had no doubt we could take her up on her promise. Shortly after this, Heather moved to another one of our other favorite cities to work at the Art Institute of Chicago. Like Boston, it would have been fun to connect with Heather there. Sadly, that will never happen now.
The New England Development Research Association (NEDRA) has set up a scholarship in Heather's memory. This will help provide newcomers to the field ("newbies" as Heather called them) financial support for development research training. I can't think of a better way to honor her memory! http://www.nedra.org/Heather_Reisz_Memorial_Scholarship
To use one of Heather's favorite phrases, she was, in a word, "Awesome!" Heather, you will be missed!