For more than a decade, Taneytown City Manager Henry Heine Jr. was someone Diane Foster looked up to.
Foster, a Taneytown councilwoman, said when she was first on the council and was the “new kid on the block,” she gravitated toward Heine. Whenever you’re new, she said, you tend to look for a mentor.
“Henry was that person to me,” Foster said.
And even all these years later, when Foster was no longer new, Heine was still someone who had a lot of experience, and was there to offer advice.
“He always could guide me in the right direction,” she said.
Heine, 71, died Friday, Oct. 26, after a battle with cancer. He worked for the City of Taneytown as city manager since 2010, and was a past mayor and past councilman. He spent 23 years working for the Mass Transit Administration in Maryland, and was a graduate of Archbishop Curley High School, Class of 1965, and a graduate of Loyola College.
Heine was a U.S. Navy veteran and served his country from 1966 to 1970 during the Vietnam War. He also served as the former president of both the Carroll County Chapter of the Maryland Municipal League and the Maryland Mayors Association, according to his obituary.
Foster said in recent months, Heine was dealing with a heart issue. It was a situation doctors believed could be taken care of with a procedure and some rest.
“Initially, that was the way it was. But in middle of recovery, he wasn’t recovering like expected,” she said.
During that recovery, doctors found cancer, she said. And even then, Foster said, the hope was if Heine could get stronger from the original procedure, then doctors could work on the cancer.
“But that never happened. They weren’t able to get him strong enough to beat the cancer,” Foster said.
Taneytown Mayor James McCarron Jr. said he knew Heine for more than 30 years, and that he was a good city manager who always took care of business and was liked by employees.
“He’s been active in the city for a long time,” McCarron said, adding that Heine stepped away from his duties around May.
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But more than that, McCarron said, Heine was a good friend.
“He was always a friend and a confidant,” McCarron said, adding that he would miss being able to talk to Heine. The two always helped each other, he said, adding, “It was a mutual thing.”
Foster said in addition to knowing Heine on a professional level, he would always host the annual company picnic at his house, which allowed her to know both Heine and his family on a personal level, too.
“He adored his grandchildren and likewise they adored him,” she said.
All around town, everyone knew Heine and his family, she added.
Foster said she saw Heine about a month before he died, and even as sick as he was, Heine still was giving her advice. He was “still being Henry,” she said. She said she would miss him greatly.
“When certain people leave us,” Foster said, “you just can’t quite get your arms around it.”