A longtime Greenwood city board member will be remembered as a dedicated man who cherished the democratic process.
Dick Heiney served in various public positions, including the Greenwood city council, and died Saturday at the age of 78.
“He was just a wonderful man. He was a treasure and the city that Greenwood has become is due to his hard work,” Johnson County Election Board member Cindy Rapp said.
Heiney, a Democrat, served one term on the Greenwood City
Council in 1979 and was a longtime member of the city’s board of zoning appeals, plan commission and board of works.
“If I ever met anyone in my life that I thought should have been mayor of Greenwood, he was the one,” former Johnson County Democrat Party chairman Jim Stables said.
He could recall Heiney talking for an hour and a half over coffee about the details of putting a new sewer system into the Valle Vista area, which showed his attention to even the most mundane aspects of government, Stables said.
Former Democratic Mayor Margaret McGovern worked with Heiney when he served on the city’s board of works during her time in office.
“His main interest was in good government. He was a watchdog, he did his homework and he was motivated only by his love of this community,” McGovern said.
“I don’t think it would be correct to call him a politician. He was really a statesman.”
Ron Deer, a 24-year Republican city council member who defeated Heiney in the 2003 election, said he would often seek Heiney’s opinion on issues.
“He certainly put his heart into this community,” Deer said.
Heiney was also active in the community to bring other people into the political process.
“He was always a dedicated Democrat. He was active up until he became ill these last few years. He was a very thoughtful man and he inspired all of us,” said Democratic Party chairwoman Martha McQueen.
Rapp remembered Heiney’s efforts going door-to-door to get residents signed up to vote and finding ways to make sure they made it to the polls on Election Day.
“He was very political, but he was very community-minded and he thought it was very important to vote and that was one of the things I admired about Dick,” Rapp said.