Heather Elaine Neier

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Heather Elaine Neier died on April 26, 2017 at her home near Howardsville, Va., weeks short of her 67th birthday and 45th DePauw University class reunion.

She was born on May 23, 1952 at Putnam County Hospital to parents Oral Glen Neier and Virginia Bundy Neier.

Growing up on a farm near Belle Union, Heather embraced responsibility and worked conscientiously from a young age. Who else would wash doll clothes by hand so that the garments would be fresh for her kittens to wear? She grew strawberries and transformed them into delicious pies. After growing and harvesting tender white popping corn, she grouped the stalks into sheaves. Later she shelled the corn by hand, filled jars and gave them as Christmas gifts. Her German chocolate cake took prizes in the 4-H Putnam County and Indiana State Fairs.

Arriving at DePauw University in the summer of 1968, Heather found a special place to grow and flourish. She loved the university, the college newspaper, her Kappa Alpha Theta sisters and the whole experience. Throughout her life, she was a active alumna with her time, energies and resources, becoming the first woman to serve as president of the DePauw Alumni Association Board of Directors. She also served on the DPU Board of Trustees.

Heather’s spirit of adventure and adaptability led her to a variety of careers ranging from teaching, development work at the University of Virginia and Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center, investing and intellectual property. Her journey took her from Indiana to Washington, D.C., Louisville, Ky., and Charlottesville and Richmond, Va.

Near Howardsville, Va., where the Rockfish River runs into the James River, Heather discovered an old hill top farm with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and five counties. After a decade creating lovely gardens and making the 1700s farm house her home, Heather received yet another blessing. She met and fell in love with a special man, Bobby Snoddy — his porch light had been visible all those years across the few miles separating their farms, but they had never met. Heather and Bobby married in 2005. Over the years, guests described the atmosphere in their home and relationship as the happiest.

Upon her marriage to Bobby she embraced her new expanded family. Heather loved her nine grandchildren, delighting in their individual personalities and was loved dearly by her family!

Heather made friends and maintained friendships throughout her life, across miles and years. She broke the ice and blazed trails for her little sister and others. She cared for her mother, her beloved aunt, her sister, her niece and friends. Her compassion extended into the animal world. Amazingly, stray dogs about to give birth and abused dogs found their way to her porch, down the length of a quarter mile driveway. She provided each a caring home and loved each one. She interceded on behalf of orphaned and neglected animals, saving many (including a mule named Midnight and a calf named Hoosier).

Subscribing to Gourmet, Bon Appetite and more recently Cooking Light, Heather enjoyed hunting and gathering ingredients called for in new recipes. A wonderful cook.

Throughout her life she had a gift for finding four-leaf clovers wherever she happened to be. She had a green thumb and enjoyed volunteering as a master gardener at Monticello.

Heather fought a series of cancers over a 30-year period. Early on she expected to see a cure for the disease in her lifetime. When the last of the cancers metastasized and put her survival in question, Heather said, “I thought I’d have more time.” Even when she realized she would not make it, Heather never lost sight of the research that would one day yield a cure for others.

Heather is best described by one word – kind. Her loved ones miss her dearly. One granddaughter gave a speech about Heather being the nicest and most inspiring person in her life. A young grandson once proclaimed “Heather has a heart of gold!”

We love you through all time. Well done, Heather.