Deaths Death Notices
HEATH, Richard Eddy "Dick"
Heath - Richard Eddy "Dick" Died on Saturday, January 7th, 2017 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was 86 years old and was suffering complications following a stroke. Richard (Dick) Heath was born on November 15, 1930 in Bound Brook, New Jersey. He was the first child and only son of Winford Eddy Heath, a Somerville, New Jersey lawyer and real estate investor, and Dorothy Brown Heath, a teacher and homemaker. He was soon joined by two sisters, Ann and Betsy, with whom he enjoyed life-long friendships. Dick eventually became the patriarch of his large extended family, and his legacy will live on in the younger generations. In his early years, Dick was a serious reader, an excellent student, an active boy scout, and a member of the debate team, something which he continued into college. He attended Somerville High School, and Swarthmore College. After college, he attended Harvard Law School, and graduated in 1955. While in law school he met his future wife, Beth Montgomery, at a Wellesley College mixer, and on June 17, 1955, they married in Riverside, Connecticut. Dick was a teaching fellow at Harvard Law while Beth finished her final year of college. In 1956, the couple moved to Buffalo, New York where they started their family and Dick began his career with Hodgson, Russ, Andrews, Woods & Goodyear, currently known as Hodgson Russ and now celebrating its 200th anniversary. Dick arrived at the firm as one of 20 lawyers, and over the fifty-six years of his practice, Hodgson Russ grew into a major national firm with hundreds of lawyers in multiple locations, with the heart remaining in downtown Buffalo. Dick practiced tax and corporate law, mentored many young lawyers, and was proud of the hard work, sense of fairness, and high quality of legal services the firm provided for clients. A champion of equal rights for women, Dick was instrumental in furthering the careers of many young female attorneys. Dick had a generous spirit and a robust sense of commitment to others. Civically minded and dedicated to the city of Buffalo, he was a tireless leader on numerous boards over the years, chairing many of them, including: The Buffalo Children's Hospital, The United Way, the Junior Chamber of Commerce, The International Institute, Studio Arena Theater, Planned Parenthood, and the Erie County Library, among others. His longest-standing membership was on the University at Buffalo Foundation, whose board he joined in 1967. He was recently named Trustee Emeritus. He was most relaxed sitting on the deck of the family house in the northern Adirondacks, enjoying a lovely lunch, looking out over the lake, petting a dog, and chatting with his children and grandchildren - then sending everyone off so he could take a nap. A life-long learner and lover of culture and history, Dick traveled the world with Beth. Wherever he went, whether it be a boardroom or the local fish market, Dick found a way to connect with others. He was genuinely interested in everyone and his or her story. Dick and Beth have four children: Ellen Heath (Keith) Plapinger of Boston, David Heath (Mary Tessman) of Baltimore, Karen Heath (Chris Howe) of Barre, Vermont, and Deborah Heath (Don Loseff) of Seattle. In addition, he is survived by his wife, best friend, and love of his life of 61 years, Beth, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, his sister Betsy (Bob) Gleason, ten grandchildren, his brother-in-law Charles Fay (sister Ann deceased) and numerous nieces and nephews and their families. Dick valued and orchestrated many family gatherings despite geographical distances. Getting to know each of his 10 grandchildren individually and on their home turf, celebrating milestones such as graduations and weddings, and making family a priority were all paramount in Dick's heart and mind. A memorial service and celebration of Dick's life will be held on Saturday, February 4th at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Elmwood Avenue at 11:00 AM. A reception will follow at the Buffalo Club. If you feel inclined, please wear something red in honor of Dick as it was his favorite color. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Dick's memory to University at Buffalo Foundation, PO Box 900, Buffalo, NY 14226 (or http://giving.buffalo.edu/giveto/9358069902) or The Massachusetts General Hospital Development Office, attn. Ellen Heath Plapinger, 125 Nashua St., 5th floor, Boston, MA 02114.to support the neurology research of Dr. Jasmeer Chhatwal (or https://giving.massgeneral.org/DonateAlz.)