Sunday, May 4, 2003


Charles Heimsch, leading botanist

By Rebecca Goodman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

OXFORD - Under the leadership of Charles Heimsch, Miami University's department of botany grew into one of the nation's leading academic units in botanical science and education.

Dr. Heimsch, professor emeritus and retired chairman of the department, died of complications of prostate cancer at Gritman Medical Center in Moscow, Idaho, on April 23. He was 88.

He is credited with dramatically expanding the botany department during his time as chairman.

Dr. Heimsch stepped down in 1977 after 18 years as chairman but taught botany until his retirement in 1981 and beyond as an emeritus faculty member. He taught until the age of 73.

The university bestowed its Benjamin Harrison Award on him for national contributions to higher education in 1981, and last summer, Dr. Heimsch received a special award at the meeting of the Botanical Society of America for contributions to botanical science and education.

Dr. Heimsch was born in Dayton in 1914 to Charles and Martha Heimsch. He graduated summa cum laude from Miami, where he studied botany, in 1936. He continued his education at Harvard University, where he received a master's degree in 1939 and a doctorate in 1941.

He wrote a number of journal articles and two textbooks and was editor for the American Journal of Botany from 1964 to 1969. He was a member and past president of the American Botanical Society.

From 1974 to 1981, he served as chairman of the Athletic Advisory Board and as the faculty representative to the NCAA and the Mid-American Conference. He was inducted into the Miami University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1994.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Dorothy Johnson Heimsch in 1973.

Survivors include: two sons, Richard Heimsch of Moscow, Idaho, and Alan Heimsch of Stuttgart, Ark.; a daughter, Carolyn Martinichof Bay Shore, New York; his former wife, Evah Jo Heimsch of Cincinnati; three stepchildren, Nancy Plump and Donald and Steven Johnson; eight grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

A memorial service is 11 a.m. May 24 at the Oxford Presbyterian Church, followed by a gathering at Miami University.

Memorials: Charles Heimsch Memorial Fund, Miami University Foundation, 725 E. Chestnut, Oxford, OH 45056.

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