Betty Heiss

April 1, 1931December 23, 2020

Betty (Lowenstein) Heiss, age 89, a longtime resident of Storrs, CT, died peacefully on Wednesday, December 23, 2020, in Putnam, CT.

Born in New York City on April 1, 1931, she was the only child of Irving and Dorothy (Marx) Lowenstein. She earned a Bachelor's Degree in art education from New York University and a Master's of Social Work degree from the University of Connecticut.

Throughout her life, Betty was committed to her community. In the late 1960s, she was co-chair of the Mansfield Community Council, a Johnson-era War on Poverty organization created to address the needs of the rural poor. She continued working as a community organizer during the 1970s and was a program developer at various social welfare and mental health organizations. She also established and managed the northeastern Connecticut chapter of Literacy Volunteers.

In the early 1980s, her focus shifted. She undertook training in family therapy and established a private practice with an emphasis on co-dependency and early childhood trauma. In addition to her regular sessions, she conducted many short-term women's groups.

After retiring, she remained active as co-chair of the curriculum committee of CLIR, the Continuing Learning in Retirement program, seeking out speakers with unusual areas of expertise or remarkable personal histories.

Betty studied art in New York during the abstract expressionist period and her artistic accomplishments ranged from watercolor painting, printmaking, and collage to the design of furniture and interiors for her home. She loved color and her understanding of the artistic process made her very receptive to the artistic work of others.

In addition to Bill Hines, her beloved partner of 28 years, she is survived by two daughters, Linda Heiss (Fred Szymanski) of New York City and Gallatin, NY and Elizabeth Heiss (Steve Karlin) of Rhode Island, two grandchildren, Sam Karlin and Amelia Karlin, a sister-in-law, Maxine Hein, and two nieces, Beth Belisle and Vanessa Ahlgren, and their families. Her marriage to Jerry Heiss ended in divorce.

Due to current restrictions, a private burial was held in Sharon Memorial Park (Sharon, MA).

Contributions in Betty's honor may be made to WAIM, the Windham Area Interfaith Ministry (

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Betty Heiss

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Mary and Bill Curtin

January 17, 2021

Dear Linda & Lizzie:

It is with sorrow and some shock that we read the obituaries of both your parents. To be orphaned in this way is profound, it's as if a double hole has been dug out in your life. Our thoughts will remain with you.

As Donne says, everyone's death is a loss of your life, and so it is with us when we think of your parents. When we first came to Storrs they were the most hospitable and generous people in Linwood. They made the transition to a second home possible. We will be forever grateful.

It did not stop there. They continued to be supportive neighbors, and with their vitality in the larger community they opened door for us.

It is with great regret that we did not see your mother or father when they moved to assisted living.

They continue to be in our hearts & minds every day, especially when we look out our window and see the lights from your old house gleaming through the trees. They remain beacons for us of what Storrs and the University of Connecticut is, was, and continues to be for us.

Mary and Bill Curtin

David norton

January 10, 2021

So sad to find this, I fondly remember her sparking smile, wonderful art, quick mind, great therapist. We traveled together down the path of self discovery, and a fruitful journey it was. My condolences to the family, what an irreplaceable loss, and what a gift to have.

Ashley Richardson-Danburg

December 28, 2020

I had the privilege of knowing Betty over the last four years. I enjoyed talking with her about politics, the books she was reading, and of course her family. She was so very proud of her daughters Linda and Lizzie and grandkids Mimi and Sam, and spoke very fondly and often of Bill also. She was always showing off any new pictures she had, and spoke often about her family's accomplishments. She was an intelligent and kind woman, and I will miss her very much. I'm so sorry for your family's loss.

Blanche Boucher

December 27, 2020

CLIR, the Continuing Learning in Retirement program at UConn, is sorry to hear of Betty’s passing. Betty was a member of the CLIR Executive Council and head of its Curriculum Committee for several years, recruiting many many excellent volunteer speakers and running a summer program as well. We are very grateful for her faithful and energetic service to the retirees of Storrs and surrounding areas.
Blanche Boucher, CLIR Secretary