Last week, the world lost Susan (Harris) Heisel, who in her own words was “an eternally positive mom, wife, friend, daughter, sister, conservationist and non-profit director.” During her nine years as Missouri State Director, Susan was an inspiration to all who knew her, facing tremendous adversity with unwavering hope and courage.
Susan led the Missouri Program to many significant accomplishments including:
• The acquisition of 22,500 acres of globally significant savanna in the Cerrado of Brazil;
• The expansion and restoration of Missouri’s Dunn Ranch Preserve, including the plan for the reintroduction of bison on the prairie, which will be realized this fall;
• The development of a watershed conservation initiative for the Current River, including the establishment of a working forest conservation buyer program to conserve 16,000 acres of forested lands; and
• The implementation of the successful Campaign for Conservation, which raised over $23 million – exceeding the goal by over $5 million.
Susan graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in political science and began her career in Washington D.C. Over the years, she was a legislative assistant, campaign director, Missouri Democratic Party regional director, director for the Missouri governor, district director for a U.S. Representative, and deputy chief of staff for a U.S. Senator. Susan was hired by The Nature Conservancy in 2001 as the Missouri State Director.
Susan enjoyed traveling and the outdoors, but most of all she loved being a mother. She and her family would spend many weekends at their cabin on the St. Francis River in the Missouri Ozarks. Susan leaves behind her husband, Ted, and two sons, Jonas (12) and Sam (8). Susan’s motto was to “love the life you are in, and make it the best it can be.” Her accomplishments will be a living legacy for future generations.
A celebration of Susan’s life took place on Monday, May 23, 2011 at the Piper Palm House in Tower Grove Park, St. Louis. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Sarcoma Research Fund, Washington University Division of Oncology (Box 8007), 660 S. Euclid, St. Louis, MO 63110, or to The Nature Conservancy (Missouri Chapter), 2800 S. Brentwood Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63144.May 23, 2011