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Obituary: Barbara Ridgway Heim

Barbara Anne Ridgway Heim passed away peacefully at her home in Key Largo, Florida on Aug. 6, 2010.

Born in Watertown, Massachusetts on July 21, 1922, to Florence (Skeoch) and Russell Dighton Ridgway, Barbara moved as a child to Forest Hills, New York where she went to Kew Forest School, a girl’s prep school. In 1939, Barbara’s parents settled in Strathmore Vanderbilt, Manhasset, New York. Barbara attended Wheaton College, Norton, Massachusetts, from 1939-1943, majoring in history and political science. Always an academic standout, she did her university honors work in 18th century political philosophy. In addition to scholastics, she was an avid tennis player.

After early graduation from Wheaton, Barbara had a brief career in advertising in New York City before marrying Harold F. Heim on March 2, 1946. After WWII, the couple returned to Colgate University, Hamilton, New York, where Barbara worked for the head of the political science department while Hal completed his undergraduate degree. Hal’s career kept the family moving from 1951 to 1961, moving to Shaker Heights in Cleveland, Hinsdale in Chicago, Fayetteville in Syracuse, and finally back to the family’s homestead in Manhasset, NY. While living in Syracuse, Barbara took graduate course work in library science at Syracuse University, as well as studying ancient Greek.

Active in local Manhasset politics, Barbara served as a Democratic committeewoman and participated in the civil rights movement, serving on the board of a local poverty program, and taking part in marches on Washington, DC. In the early ‘70s Barbara was instrumental in founding the Manhasset Community Life Council, an organization dedicated to helping youth. Barbara also trained in crisis management and served on Hotline, an agency providing telephone emergency help to prevent teen suicide. She was a member of Christ Church, Manhasset, where her activities included coordinating Sunday School activities.

Upon retirement to Key Largo, Barbara served as the Upper Keys coordinator and advisor for Literacy Volunteers of America, Monroe County. Barbara was active in the planning and building of the Key Largo Library. Education, reading, and the world of books were her lifelong passions, superseded only by Wimbledon, the US Open, and French Open.

Barbara is survived by her husband Hal (married 64 years), Key Largo, daughters Sue Heim, Key Largo and Sibyl (Howard) Canaan, Cold Spring, NY, and three grandsons.

A memorial service will be held Friday, Aug. 27 at 11 a.m. at Christ Church, Manhasset, NY, where Barbara will be interred, followed by a Celebration of Life service in Key Largo.

In lieu of flowers, contributions remembering her legacy of helping others may be made directly to Key Largo Public Library’s memorial in Barbara’s name.