Louis Robert Heiss, 82, chemist and inventor


Louis Robert Heiss, a chemist and research instruments inventor who secured six patents and continued to tinker with ideas long after he retired, died of a heart attack July 9 at Anne Arundel Medical Center. He was 82.

"I met him in the eighth grade, and even then he was a typical scientist," said his wife of 56 years, Martha Furr Heiss. "He was always very quiet and studious. Years later, he'd always say that he loved me from the moment he laid eyes on me."

The couple grew up around the corner from each other in Washington, and attended the same schools until Mr. Heiss entered American University to study chemistry and biology. He graduated with degrees in both.

But he kept returning to the old Cleveland Heights neighborhood to woo the elusive girl of his dreams, until she agreed to marry him when she was 26.

He found work in the Silver Spring office of the Chicago-based research instruments giant then known as Baxter-Travenol, where he designed and marketed testing equipment.

The couple later moved to Annapolis, where Mr. Heiss became an avid bay fisherman.

Over the years, he won numerous awards for his inventions from the American Institute of Chemists, the American Chemical Society and other organizations.

"The things he invented, I can't even pronounce," said Mrs. Heiss, also 82. "Even after he retired in 1987, that was his favorite thing to do -- that and go fishing on the Chesapeake. He would just sit around and invent something to turn a wheel or a dial or a something."

Mr. Heiss was a member of the United Methodist Church of Silver Spring.

A memorial service was planned for 2 p.m. Aug. 5 at Ginger Cove retirement community, 4000 River Crescent Drive in Annapolis, where the couple moved in 1988.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Heiss is survived by two sons, Andrew Heiss of Columbia and Michael Heiss of Catonsville; and a sister, Helen Goldsworthy of Auburn, Calif.

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