Dr. Heller’s Career Highlighted

January 30, 2010 in Alumni

As many of you know, Dr. Paul Heller recently lost his battle with cancer.  The faculty at Penn State appreciate all of the efforts by various groups in highlighting Paul’s accomplishments and would like to share some of these here.

From TurfNet:
The moment seemed out of character for Paul Heller, Ph.D., except maybe to those who knew him best.

As an entomologist at Penn State University, Heller was attending a regional superintendents meeting in the early 1990s at Centre Hills Country Club in State College, Pa. The required jacket and tie spoke to the serious nature of the affair. On the other hand, the beer cooler that Heller had in his car was symbolic of his dedication to his profession and his fun-loving nature. After dinner, he asked the assistant superintendent sitting next to him if he could help him bring the cooler inside.

“We brought in the cooler, and he handed out live grub samples with desert, for superintendents to identify them,” said Danny Kline, who later became Heller’s research technician for six-plus years. “People just started laughing, but he was serious. He said ‘I want you to identify these and tell me what they are.’ ”

Read the full story here.

From the Desk of GCM:
It’s been a sad few weeks for the alumni, faculty and friends of the Penn State turfgrass program, as they have been mourning the death of Paul Heller, Ph.D. (pictured here in the blue shirt, alongside another Penn Stater, Robert Walker, during a visit to St. David’s GC in Wayne, Pa.). Heller was a longtime professor of entomology in the program who died on Jan. 18 after a long bout with colon cancer. He was 61.

Shortly after Heller’s passing, we heard from Henry Wetzel, Ph.D., a former student of Heller’s who now works as a turfgrass consultant based out of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. He’s assisting us in putting together a short obituary for Heller that we’ll publish in the March issue of GCM, and sent along a remembrance of Heller that he wrote for the Philadelphia GCSA’s March newsletter. We thought our blog would be a great place for folks to get a more-detailed sense of what Heller meant to the Penn State family, so we’re pleased to present Wetzel’s thoughts today.

Read the full story here.