Henry W. Heikkinen
Henry Wendell Heikkinen, 87, passed away peacefully at home in Denver, Colorado on November 9, 2022. Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 18th, 1935 to Henry K. Heikkinen and Elsie (Aro), he graduated from Hopkins High School in 1952 and then received a degree in Chemical Engineering from Yale University in 1956. Henry began his career as a food engineer for General Mills, working on products such as Cheerios and instant mashed potatoes. After spending a year as a Rotary Scholar in Sydney, Australia, he left the corporate world to pursue a career with more social impact. He received a Master’s Degree from Teachers College, Columbia University, and then taught high school chemistry and coached debate at Richfield High School, Minnesota. On April 4, 1964, he married Sally (Hogan) in St Paul, Minnesota. As a young teacher, Henry became involved with the post-Sputnik science education reform movement. The improvement of teaching and learning of science, especially chemistry, became his major interest and life’s work. He earned a PhD in Chemical Education from the University of Maryland and joined the faculty there. He then served as chief editor of the innovative high school chemistry textbook, Chemistry in the Community, which presents chemistry within the context of real-world scenarios. In 1987, Henry joined the faculty at the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley as the head of the Math & Science Teaching Center and to establish the PhD program in Chemical Education. Following the unexpected death of his first wife, Henry accepted a leadership position with the National Research Council in Washington, DC to establish national science standards for K-12 education. There he met his second wife, Cathy (Chetney). There were married on August 1, 1993 in Greeley. He retired from UNC in 2001. Henry was a beloved colleague, teacher and friend. He is survived by his wife Cathy; son Henry A. Heikkinen of Santa Cruz, California; daughter Susan C. Heikkinen and son-in-law Chris Hrubesky of Longmont, Colorado; grandchildren Maddie Karr, Andrew Hrubesky and Benjamin Hrubesky. To sign the online guest book, please go to www.virtual-memorials.com A memorial service will be held at a later time. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to science education scholarships in Henry’s name at University of Northern Colorado, Campus Box 20, Greeley CO 80639.
Published by Greeley Tribune on Nov. 20, 2022.