This page is dedicated to the ACHA family and friends whom we have lost. You can read their profiles here. We also invite you to submit a memorial on someone you loved who lived with ACHD for this website.
Please send your memorial submission to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the name of the person you are memorializing, along with your name and contact information. We encourage you to send a picture, but that is optional. Please keep your submission to 500 words or less.
Howard Weinstein passed away on April 23, 1999. While he was affectionately known to members of the AOL ACHD chat and ACHD listserv as "Howie," his friends and family called him by his Jewish name "Chaim," meaning "life." Those of us who knew him know how appropriate the name Chaim was, as he was always full of life and good humor. I had the opportunity to meet Howie and his wife Leah in January of this year. We had a wonderful time. He will be missed by all of us. Please keep his wife Leah in your prayers.
—Karen L. Klein
Heidi L. Wilkinson, 51, of Hudson, died unexpectedly Wednesday, August 2, 2006, at Marlborough Hospital, after being stricken ill at her home.
Born in Marlborough, she was the daughter of Robert P. and Erika K. (Waldmann) Wilkinson and lived in Hudson all her life.
Born with a life-threatening congenital heart defect, she underwent many surgeries and bravely fought off repeated illnesses that could have caused her spirit to weaken, but constantly rebounded with her always-positive attitude.
She was a lifelong patient of the cardiac care program of Children's Hospital Boston and an active member of the Adult Congenital Heart Association of the hospital. Until last year, she devoted many hours as an editor to the quarterly newsletter.
Miss Wilkinson was employed as an associate at Stop & Shop in Hudson and previously worked for the former Shaw's Supermarket.
She was an active volunteer for many years at Marborough Hospital.
Besides her parents, she leaves and uncle, Donald I. Wilkinson of North Carolina; three aunts, Irene M. Colonie and Helene E. Wilkinson, both of Florida, and Evelyn G. Sullivan of California; and several cousins.
She was the sister of the late Peter Wilkinson.
What Life Is To Me (By a 14-year-old freshman)
My philosophy of life is not complex. On the contrary, it is I think, rather simple. I am a realist, not an idealist. I try to look at today's world objectively. I take life for what it is, not what it was. The past is wonderful to reminisce about, but no good to live in. I have to keep up to today's way of life or fall far behind.
Today's life is too fast though. Sometimes I, and probably a lot of other people, become confused when everything is thrown at one all at once. Instead of accomplishing my homework some nights, I waste my time worrying about all the things I have on my schedule. It then seems as if my brain is on Cloud Number Nine glaring down at me, "Get to work!"
I seem to get less done when I have a lot on my mind than when I don't, yet, when "my life depends on it," I work well under pressure.
Have you ever taken a walk in the woods by yourself? Lain down in the brown leaves that smell so good? Just thought about the wonderful world you live in? I often have. It feels good to just get away from all the rushing and bustling of life that is located just a few thousand yards away.
I have been lucky. Life has given me hardships, it has also given me pleasure. This writer has gone through a number of hospital stays, including several for surgery. But life has provided the medical knowledge to snatch me away from the clutches of death, even though I am not afraid of it. In spite of illnesses, etc., I must truly say . . . "I am glad to be alive." The little moments of joy I experience everyday are worth all the illnesses twice over. I am glad to be alive.
—Heidi L. Wilkinson
Jim Wong served as ACHA's Board Chair, led ACHA's first Research Committee, and served as long-time moderator for ACHA's on-line discussion forums. Jim gave tirelessly to the congenital heart community, and was passionate about the potential for science and technology to improve the well-being of congenital heart patients. For more information about Jim, please click here.
Edward Earl Olde, age 83, beloved father and husband, Elder Law attorney, and congenital heart disease pioneer, passed away in his home on March 17 after an extended period of Home Hospice care. His dear wife JoAnn and his brother, Dick and wife, Kay were at his side. Ed and JoAnn were very grateful for the medical services provided by the Hospice Colorado Visiting Nurses Association, along with their volunteers and Chaplin.
Ed is survived by his wife, JoAnn, and his three sons with his late wife, Judy (who passed in 2001) Denton & wife Beth, daughters Sophie & Julianna; Dustin & wife Eilis, daughters Adelyn & Quinn; Darin & wife Abby, children Augustin & Ruby. He is also survived by his brother Dick Olde & wife Kay, their daughters Brenda, Tammy and Charlotte; and late brother, Bud Olde’s children Karen, Jeff and John, & daughter Cait.
Ed was born in 1936 with tetralogy of Fallot. The timing of his birth was fortuitous though; surgeons at Johns Hopkins were on the cusp of learning how to modify the major arteries to compensate for the defects so that children like Ed could survive into adulthood. Ed underwent his first surgeries at age 10 and 12 by Dr. Blalock, helping advance the medical understanding that has since allowed hundreds of thousands of children in this country, and countless more around the world to live.
After Ed completed his History Degree at Stanford and law degree through University of California, Berkeley, he underwent his third heart surgery by Mayo’s Dr. Kirklin, to more thoroughly repair his cardiac anomalies, further contributing to the knowledge needed to make these surgeries routine today. Ed’s late wife Judy, an RN, was instrumental in the process involving his fourth surgery by Denton Cooley which won Ed nearly four additional decades of quality life without interventions. In their profound gratitude, Ed and Judy named their first son Denton.
In 2007 at the age of 71, Ed required his fifth and final surgery at the University of Colorado. Thanks to surgeon Dr. Campbell’s perseverance operating over 10 hours, Ed was provided with an additional 12 years of life and the enjoyment of spending precious time with all of his family including welcoming his two youngest granddaughters, Addy age 10 and Quinn Age three.
The Adult Congenital Heart Association was a welcome source of fellowship for Ed and JoAnn, as it is for numerous other heart warriors. Born in an age when heart surgery was a mere fantasy, then living through multiple operations to age 83 is a wonder of modern progress and Ed was always at its forefront. Ed never complained of the extra difficulties or uncertainties he faced but instead enjoyed the miracle that was his life and all of the wonderful people with which he shared it.
It is with great sadness our brave cardiac warrior, Ruth Drusilla (Mangus) Diamond, age 55, of Magnolia, Delaware lost her hard-fought and lifelong battle on December 11, 2020. Ruth was born fighting to survive and beat the odds that were presented. Even during her hardest battle, she was brave and determined. She showed her appreciation to those who were caring for her. (Her family gratefully thanks all the medical teams that have taken care of her throughout.) She never missed an opportunity to share her condition with health care professionals and medical students to aid in their education. Her final sacrifice was to donate her heart to The University of Pennsylvania’s Cardiac Department.
Ruth was a member of the Rainbow Girls in Tacoma, Washington. She volunteered with the Colonial Greyhound Adoption group of Williamsburg helping racing greyhounds find their forever home. Born in Newport News, Virginia to a military family, she was able travel throughout Europe, but called Virginia her home. She enjoyed her travels throughout Alaska and England where she and her husband had been stationed. She was a devoted Air Force wife, sister, and friend.
Ruth is survived by her husband Jeff Diamond, her elementary school sweetheart and their love bug Abby dog. Also her remaining sisters, Paula A. Mangus and Bonnie D. Mangus Musto, her husband Steve and her two nephews Jason and Maxwell Musto.
She was inurned at the Newport News Peninsula Memorial Park on December 30, 2020. A celebration of life will be held at a later date. Ruth Diamond’s funeral was private but in her honor, we ask that you do something nice for a neighbor or someone who cannot leave their home and smile under your mask.
Debra Kay (Kuhn) Lange was born in Lincoln, NE on August 17, 1967, the daughter of Don and Mary (Langemeier) Kuhn. She was born with tricuspid atresia and had a BT shunt heart procedure at 9 months of age and an open heart modified Fontan procedure when she was 11. Multiple cardioversions and ablations led her to eventual placement on a heart and liver transplant waitlist, and she and her husband Terry moved to Rochester, MN, in December of 2021 to await the call. That good news of a donor came on May 4, 2022. Unfortunately, Deb succumbed to complications of the surgery on May 18 after a courageous battle. The abnormalities that affected the way her heart pumped did not change her ability to love the many family members, friends and students she impacted in her 50 plus years on earth.
Deb was a bright light to everyone she met, even when her medical conditions would have been overwhelming to most. She was a courageous fighter and an advocate for herself and others. She valued and treasured her family and friends and throughout her life made great efforts to assure that those connections did not fade. She loved playing cards and was always ready to start a card game either in person or online. She will be greatly missed.
Deb was an ongoing advocate for the Adult Congenital Heart Association and participated in many events and fundraisers for the group. She also had a great love and connection with her “Zipper Sisters” who could really relate to her condition. Deb dedicated a great amount of time to bringing awareness to congenital heart disease and organ and tissue donation.