Deceased January 6, 2015
William E. “Bill” Heaton Jr., 76, passed away Jan. 6, 2015, at his home in Placentia, Calif., after a four-and-a-half year battle with cancer. Bill was born in Chicago, Ill., moved several times in his youth and graduated from Coral Gables (Fla.) High School. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Amherst College in 1960.
At Amherst, Bill was a tackle on the Amherst football team and a member of the rugby team. He received the game football from the October 1959 win over Wesleyan (6-0), to pave way to winning the Little Three that year. His boasts about rugby and their trip to Bermuda were inspiration for his daughter, Heather ’95, to join the rugby team during her time at Amherst. Bill was a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity where he earned the nickname “Cosmo” by his Beta brothers.
Jim Crowley ’60 remembers Bill as “bringing mirth to every situation he entered. A polished speaker, his mellifluous tones would regale private conversations and party groups with wit, lyrics and limericks, meant to entertain humorously. His nickname ‘Cosmo’ was bestowed by Beta brothers because of the overwhelming cosmopolitan airs he could summon instantly in social moments that demanded great ‘savoir-faire’ (e.g., a mixer with one of the neighboring schools).”
In his professional life, Bill touched many lives throughout the United States and Orange County through his career as a nonprofit fund development professional. Most recently, he served as vice president of advancement, Southern California College of Optometry, Fullerton for 20 years. Bill was a past president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Orange County Chapter, as well as the 1996 Outstanding Fundraising Professional. Among his many community involvements, Bill served as 2000-01 president of the Fullerton Chamber of Commerce and is a long-standing member of the Fullerton Rotary Club. He was a leader of numerous support organizations benefiting California State University, Fullerton College of the Arts and the City of Placentia.
He enjoyed international travel, museums, the arts and snorkeling. His footprints are on the profession of fundraising, the community and the lives of his colleagues. Bill’s legacy is as a loving husband and father, true friend, an encouraging colleague, a valued mentor, a trusted leader. He is survived by wife Milly, daughter Heather Heaton Wiederholt ’95 and her husband Sebastian, son William E. Heaton IV, sister Joy Connors and her husband Jim, stepdaughter Kristen Pearson and her husband Keith.
Heather Heaton Wiederholt ’95