School 13

Edward Henry Heath

May 22, 1931 ~ November 25, 2018 (age 87)


Edward Henry Heath, educator, died November 25, 2018, in Corvallis. 

Edward was born in Boise, Idaho to Ervin and Elsie (Manly) Heath. His early schooling was in a one-room country school taught by his mother. Later he graduated from Saint Teresa’s Academy in Boise, Idaho in 1949. When not in school he worked and learned on the family cattle ranch located on the South Fork of the Boise River north of Mountain Home, Idaho in Danskin Valley. He loved the ranch and returned as often as he could throughout his life.

He enrolled in Boise Junior College, now Boise State University, in 1949 and graduated in 1951. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force where he served for two years before returning to finish his Bachelor’s Degree at the College of Idaho. Before finishing his degree he married the bright and beautiful Kathleen Frances Sullivan in September 1954. In January 1955 he enrolled at the University of Idaho where he finished his Master’s Degree in 1956. That fall he enrolled at the University of Illinois to study under the renowned Charles K. Brightbill, where he earned his Ph.D. in September 1962. Dr. Heath accepted a position at the University of New Mexico as head of the recreation curriculum where he also served as Outward Bound Director. The program prepared 2,500 Peace Corps Volunteers to work in South America and was the first Outward Bound program in the continental United States. In the Fall of 1967, Dr. Heath became the Recreation Department Head at Oregon State University where he developed a highly-respected program dealing with the human aspects of natural resource management. Graduates from the program at the Bachelor, Master, and Ph.D. levels soon became leaders throughout the world in universities, government, and conservation agencies.

In the Fall of 1979, Dr. Heath accepted a position at Texas A&M University in the School of Agriculture where he served until his retirement in 1996.

He was involved in leadership public service positions at the local, state, and national level. This included appointments by three Oregon governors to the State Marine Board, which designated numerous Oregon rivers as wild and scenic.

He was a fellow of the Academy of Leisure Sciences and a Fellow in the American Leisure Academy and was honored numerous times including Distinguished Alumni Awards from the University of Illinois and the College of Idaho.

Dr. Heath invested many years to help establish National Accreditation for university park and recreation academic programs. Once the Council on Accreditation was established he served for 10 years on the Council. More than 100 American universities have completed accreditation and improved their academic programs. Dr. Heath was very proud of this achievement - a 30 year process.

He was nationally recognized and admired for his thoughtful and positive approach to challenges faced by individuals and institutions in his profession.

In retirement, Ed and Kathleen managed a commercial and residential real estate business and enjoyed time with family at their house in Metolius Meadows. In addition, Ed and Kathleen volunteered on a number of projects. Ed planted bulbs for Zonta International for many years and contributed refurbished and customized tools to the Oregon Gardens.

Ed loved watching all Beaver sports and Kathy would join in the fun especially for women’s basketball. He sat front row, first-base side for Beaver baseball for years and last season was another great one. Ed had a wonderfully positive attitude and a unique ability to instill confidence in others for them to accomplish great things.

Ed always attributed his success and the success of the family to his wife Kathleen. They were married for 64 years filled with work they loved and a family that brought them joy. He will be missed by his family and many others.

He was preceded in death by his father (Ervin), mother (Elsie Manly), and brother (Loren). He is survived by his wife (Kathleen), sister (Pat McGee), son Michael (Charisse), son Daniel, daughter Ann Baumgartner (Jim), son Edward (Megan), and son Thomas (Cathy), 9 grandchildren, and 6½ great-grandchildren. 

His ashes will be spread over his favorite places and a memorial service is being planned. Plant some bulbs in honor of Ed and be reminded of him when spring comes.

AAsum-Dufour Funeral Home is handling the arrangements (

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