Mary Anne Heckwolf, health insurance executive

Mary Anne Heckwolf, a retired Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance executive, died May 7 after a fall related to brain cancer at her Glen Arm home. She was 68.

Born in Baltimore and raised on Kimble Road in Ednor Gardens, she was the daughter of Leonard J. Heckwolf Sr., an Amoco Oil human resources manager, and Ann Helen Roche.

She attended St. Bernard School and was a 1966 graduate of Mercy High School. She earned a bachelor's degree in Spanish at Mount St. Agnes College and master's degrees in administration and in the liberal arts from the Johns Hopkins University.

She began teaching Spanish at the Catholic High School of Baltimore and in Prince George's County public schools. She later joined the faculty at Notre Dame Preparatory School in Towson.

In 1980, she changed careers and pursued work in the insurance field. She joined Zurich-American and Willse and Associates. In 1985, she joined Blue Cross Blue Shield of Maryland. Her responsibilities at the insurer expanded as it merged and grew.

"Mary Anne was a consummate professional who took every assignment to represent the company and our customers at the highest possible level," said William L. Jews, former CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield who is now president of Group Hospitalization and Medical Services. "She had a warm and welcoming personality with a quiet demeanor that showed she was serious about what she did.

"I knew I could depend on her and that her assignments would be handled impeccably. Her ethics were beyond reproach."

In 1996 she was named vice president of the health insurer's government programs.

"Mary Ann was a brilliant officer for CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield who seemed to succeed in solving problems that no one else wanted to tackle," said a former co-worker, Ann Gallant. "She solved difficult issues with great sensitivity and very high ethics. She ran the Medicare and Medicaid programs at different times, and as she progressed she took on more responsibiliies."

"Mary Anne was a quiet, strong and effective leader," said Rita Costello, CareFirst's marketing director. "She was a memorable person. Her co-workers loved her. She was a generous friend in every way."

Among her responsibilities, she was a vice president of the insurer's dental operations and also oversaw its buildings and purchasing operations.

She retired in 2006 as a vice president and founded a consulting firm, Heckwolf and Associates.

In 1998 she became a trustee at Mercy High School. She was later secretary of the board of trustees and was co-chair of its 2009 Passion for the Future capital campaign. Colleagues said she helped raise $3 million for scholarships, campus improvements and a new science center.

"Mary Anne had a lively intellect. She was bright and perceptive. She brought a discerning eye to all our activities at Mercy High School and to board decisions," said the school's president, Mary Beth Lennon. "She was committed to helping girls who could not otherwise afford a Catholic education. She looked out for bright girls of promise."

Ms. Heckwolf donated to the school in honor of her parents, establishing the Ann H. Heckwolf Teacher Award for Outstanding Commitment to Catholic Education in the Mercy Tradition.

"She had a background in management of people. She shared her knowledge with me and with others," said Ms. Lennon. "She had an eye for doing the right thing. She was pragmatic and had a commitment to social justice. If we had an idea, she would say, 'How are we going to pay for it?' Then she would say, Let's make a plan.'"

She was a recipient of Mercy's 2002 McAuley Award to an Outstanding Alumna.

Ms. Heckwolf also served on the boards of Young Audiences of Maryland, The Chimes Inc. and Stella Maris.

She lived in Charles Village, where she had been active in the Charles Village Civic Association, before moving to Glen Arm. Colleagues said she enjoyed playing golf — and was a strong competitor — and owned a home at the Oyster Bay Golf Course in Sunset Beach, N.C.

She also led her nieces and nephews on trips throughout Europe.

A memorial Mass will be held at 11 a.m. May 19 at St. Ignatius Roman Catholic Church, 740 N. Calvert St., where she was a member.

Survivors include her friend, Dorothea Newnam, a retired teacher who lives in Glen Arm; two brothers, Leonard J. Heckwolf Jr. of Phoenix in Baltimore County and Thomas T. Heckwolf of Laguna Niguel, Calif.; and nieces and nephews.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

Copyright © 2017, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad