Her name was Susan Heintz, and she was my wife's roommate for several years.
I never met her, but from everything that my wife, and their mutual friends have told me about her, she was an extraordinary human being.
Michigan human rights activist devoted her life to helping othersPlease read the whole article. We need more Susan Heintz's in the world.
Susan Heintz earned one of the most marketable degrees in the world and declined to market it. She preferred geographic mobility to upward mobility, and died while trying to do good things in a place most of us wouldn't set foot in if we could find it.
As far as her friends know, it wasn't the job that ended her travels at 44. She'd had health problems, with epilepsy high on the list, and embedding herself in troubled locations couldn't have helped any.
So if they were shattered when they found out she was gone, they weren't necessarily shocked. And if Heintz was cheated out of some years, she didn't misuse many days.
She was a child of Germany and Inkster who became a Harvard lawyer. She read. She explored. She loved "Star Trek" and her kindergarten-age niece in Colorado. She collected flutes, small artworks, and friends on at least three continents.
While classmates went to Wall Street or big firms in L.A., Heintz spent her career in the likes of Pakistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Afghanistan and Liberia.
Her last title was almost baroque: Director of the Human Rights and Communities Department for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. What it meant was that once again, she was being a voice for the voiceless, whatever their language.