It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Donald James Heineman on February 7, 2023.
Don was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1941 to Raymond J. and Louise M. Heineman. He grew up in Chicago, where he attended Leo High School and often spent his summers selling drinks at Cubs and White Sox games. Don earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1962, and was a member of Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity. He earned his M.B.A. from The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business in 1966.
While in college, Don joined the U.S. Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps, and he served on active duty from 1962 to 1964 as Combat Information Center and Electronics officer aboard the U.S.S. Ruchamkin (APD-89).
Don began his professional career at Bell & Howell, working for two years as a member of the financial planning and accounting team in the company’s Business Equipment Group. In 1968 he joined McKinsey & Company, where he spent five years as a management consultant. While with McKinsey, Don spent two years abroad, working out of their Amsterdam office on engagements with both U.S. and European based clients. After returning to the states, Don joined Heinz U.S.A., where he held several roles, including as Vice President of the Heinz Pickle Division in Henderson, North Carolina. In 1981 Don joined McKinney & Silver Advertising in Raleigh as Senior Vice President and Partner, representing blue chip clients including Fannie Mae, Ralston Purina and Bacardi. In 1995, Don founded The Hatteras Group, a marketing strategy and research consulting firm in Chapel Hill where he served as Managing Director until his retirement in 2012.
Don was an active member, and past President, of the East Chapel Hill Rotary Club. With Rotary, Don led and advised on numerous medical service missions in Honduras, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua, that provided dental and medical care for local children and adults. And in 2019, Don and other Rotarians organized East Chapel Hill’s Green Team to focus on environmental stewardship projects in the community.
Don loved visiting the North Carolina mountains and coast, hiking with his wife Rose in Blowing Rock, and spending summer vacations at Bald Head Island and Atlantic Beach. He was an avid reader and book club member, amateur documentarian, and was always up for a round of golf or set of tennis. In his younger years, Don also had a passion for sailing, racing catamarans with friends and cruising off of the North Carolina coast. But most of all, he enjoyed spending time with family and the close friends that he and Rose made over his lifetime.
Don will be remembered as warm and sincere, with a sharp wit and great sense of humor. He was a mentor and friend, always generous with his time, and an eternal optimist. He was also known to engage in animated political discourse. His friends and family will always cherish his generosity of spirit and the genuine love he felt for them.
Don is survived by Rose, his wife of 54 years, son Justin Heineman and wife Debbie, daughter Kate Cheshire and husband Scott, his granddaughters, Grace Louise Heineman and Katherine Sarah Heineman, his cousin Mary Lu O’Malley and her husband Dennis, his nieces and nephews in Chicago, and his many close friends in Chapel Hill and beyond. A special gratitude is extended to Dr. Matthew I. Milowsky and his UNC medical team, Dr. John K. Min, and UNC Hospice.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 4th, at 11am at Christ United Methodist Church, 800 Market St., Chapel Hill. A reception at the church will follow.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to UNC’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, the SECU Family House at UNC Hospitals, or the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation.
Walker’s Funeral Home in Chapel Hill is assisting the family.