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11-10-2011 Heiden Gave of His Talents, Time

By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record

Omaha attorney George Fraser "Geof" Heiden was the very definition of a community activist.

He was the president of Opera Omaha from 2000 to 2003, was a member of the board of the Bellevue University Foundation since 2003 and served on the Douglas County Historical Society from 1998 to 2004.

He was also very active in the Vestry of All Saints Episcopal Church and a 20-year member of its choir.

A member of the Omaha Bar Association, Heiden was also a highly regarded member of the bar, most recently practicing law as a partner at Fraser Stryker, where he focused on banking, finance and commercial law.

He died unexpectedly of a heart attack at age 64 on October 24, despite being physically fit.

Heiden graduated from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln and earned his law degree at the University of Michigan. Returning to Omaha after graduation in 1974, he worked at the law office of Bradford and Coenen, and later became general counsel and managing attorney of Peter Kiewit Sons Inc., before joining Fraser Stryker.

Attorney Dana "Woody" Bradford gave Heiden his first professional job. "He was a brilliant young lawyer. We knew he'd have a great career."

Their relationship has continued through their involvement in All Saints Episcopal Church. "He will be missed by all of us at All Saints," Bradford said. "He left his footprints for many years to come there, especially with his fundraising efforts."

When asked about Heiden's other community endeavors, Bradford said, "He was in things even I wasn't aware of. I think whatever he got involved in, he jumped in with both feet."

His colleagues at Fraser Stryker praised Heiden's work and his presence. "I worked with Geof on and off for more than 40 years; there have been few equal gentlemen, and no finer lawyer, in Omaha," Steven Bloch said.

Mark Brasee agreed: "Geof was the epitome of a gentleman."

"Geof's skill as a lawyer was matched only by his warm personality and generous spirit. We were blessed to have him as our colleague at Fraser Stryker. I really miss hearing his laugh in the hallway every day," Steve Bruckner said.

Being a member of the Baby Boomer generation, he served his country in the United States Army in Vietnam between his graduation from UNL in 1969 and his enrollment in law school.

He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Connie; daughter and son-in-law Christine and Matthew Dumich of Chicago; brother Greg; sister Laurie Russell; and three nieces and nephews.

In addition to the organizations in which he had leadership roles, Geof, along with his wife Connie, have been generous donors to such diverse and deserving organizations as Legal Aid of Nebraska, the Omaha Community Foundation and the Stephen Center. Memorials have been suggested to Opera Omaha or All Saints Episcopal Church Building Fund.