Lawrence A. Heald ’62

Lawrence A. Heald ’62 died on June 29, 2022, in Portland, Oregon.

(The following was provided by the Oregonian on July 6, 2022)

Lawrence A. Heald ’62

Lawrence Alfred Heald passed away at home June 29, 2022, after a fourteen-month battle with pancreatic cancer. A longtime believer in the right for terminally ill people to choose death with dignity, Larry took the DWD prescription with his sons at his side, dying peacefully on his own terms.

Born in Wisconsin, Larry also spent parts of his childhood in Pennsylvania and Maine, and graduated from Bowdoin College in 1962. After earning a master’s in engineering from Columbia University, he worked for IBM for more than a quarter century. He married Debby Rankin in 1974, and during their forty-year marriage, they lived together in Manhattan; Monterey, Mass.; Greenwich, Conn.; Bronxville, N.Y.; and Portland, Ore. Following Debby’s death in 2014, he married Nancy Smith in 2016. She ensured that the final chapter of his life was active and social, and looked after him during his long illness.

Larry was an avid cyclist and hiker, and he traveled extensively, visiting Alaska, Antarctica, New Zealand, Australia, and Europe. He loved to read difficult books, tackling Dostoevsky and Faulkner in the final months of his life. He dedicated himself to genealogical research after his mother died in 1997, and his tireless attention to detail was matched by his wide-ranging curiosity in investigating the oftentimes strange cul-de-sacs his ancestors found themselves in.

He was a sweet man who gave great hugs. For someone who came across as shy and reserved, he had a sneaky sense of humor and was preternaturally good at reading (and making up) bedtime stories. His sneezes were alarmingly loud, and he had a funny-looking bump on his big toe after he injured it while dancing barefoot with Debby in the 1970s. Until his later years, he would “go swimming” exactly once a year, as if it were punishment. He’d splash around wildly, his big eyebrows hanging over his eyes. He knew how to make us laugh.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Debby Rankin; and is survived by his second wife, Nancy Smith; sons, David and Michael Heald; brother, John Heald; and granddaughter, Finley Heald.

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