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Loss is hard. Recently, Schoodic Institute lost two familiar faces; people dear to our staff, board, and members of our local community here in Downeast Maine. Katherine Heidinger of Winter Harbor, passed away on June 2nd and Laurie Richards of Gouldsboro, passed away on June 22nd. 

Katherine Heidinger served as Winter Harbor’s longtime representative on the Acadia National Park Advisory Commission, serving as secretary, before her passing. Additionally, she was a member of the Board of Directors of Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park from 2005-2019. Katherine’s passion was journalism. She was the managing editor of The Ellsworth American, wrote columns for the Bangor Daily News, and in her “retirement” taught journalism classes at the University of Maine (Orono).

Katherine’s devotion to Schoodic Peninsula and the surrounding area was evident through her lifetime of service in multiple roles and organizations, to name a few: the Winter Harbor Board of Selectman and the Budget Committee, the Schoodic Arts for All Board, and the Maine Coast Memorial Hospital Volunteers. She was one of the local residents who spearheaded the restoration and preservation of the Channing Chapel which now houses the Winter Harbor Public Library. Read Katherine’s Obituary.

Reflections on Katherine:

“Katherine was wise and warm, and often stunningly insightful.” – David Ellwood, Schoodic Institute Board chair

“Her local connections and experience with the business community were invaluable during the early days of Schoodic Institute. She played a key role on the Development and Engagement Committee and, at various times, served on the Finance Committee, the Executive Committee and as Treasurer.” – Kathleen Nauss, Schoodic Institute Board member


Laurie Richards joined the Schoodic Institute staff in 2018 as our Finance and Human Resources Manager after a long career in finance management and administration for law firms. Notably, she was the CFO for Glenn Rasmussen, Fogarty, and Hooker in Tampa, FL, for many years before returning to New England having grown up in Haverhill Massachusetts and attending college in New Hampshire.

Her contributions to her work through her lifetime added up to more than just business. She brought charm, good humor, and personal warmth to everyone who had the pleasure of working with her.

Laurie lived for the simple pleasures in life. Some of her most treasured pastimes were conversations over a cup of coffee, delicious meals prepared for her by husband Jim, her flower gardens, her dog Buddy, and time with her cherished daughter, Meghan. Read Laurie’s Obituary.

Reflections on Laurie:

“Laurie was a one in a million person – brilliant, talented, genuine and kind. She will be so greatly missed.” – Ellin Miller, Schoodic Institute Board member

“Working at Schoodic was the highlight of her career. And I know it was because of all the amazing friendships she had there.” – Meghan, Laurie’s daughter

“Schoodic would not be the place it is today without the significant contributions she made to the organization. The fact that she did so with such good humor was truly unique.” – Steve Myers, Schoodic Institute Board Treasurer


Flowers bloom at the sea's edge.