Larry Heileman, a longtime public broadcasting fundraiser, died Aug. 18 at Queen Anne Nursing Home in Hingham, Mass., from complications of a brain tumor. He was 66.
“Larry made a substantial impact on public broadcasting through his work with WGBH, WHYY in Philadelphia, and PBS Development,” said Berta MacCarthy, WGBH’s former executive director of contributor development and marketing, in a statement. “His effectiveness in launching successful fundraising strategies and raising millions of dollars made him a valuable resource for the WGBH community and the entire PBS system. Larry never hesitated to test and evaluate new methods and enjoyed dropping by to chat about a new idea or calling colleagues to share innovative techniques. His every interaction was characterized by a terrific sense of humor coupled with a strong belief in the mission of public broadcasting.”
Heileman joined WGBH as a telemarketer in 1984 and moved into leadership positions in fundraising, pledge, membership and marketing. “WGBH fans may remember him best for his on-air role wearing a green eyeshade and arm garters as Larry the Money Man,” his obituary in the Boston Globe said.
He left WGBH in 1994 for PBS headquarters in Alexandria, Va., developing new pledge programming. From there he became director of development for WHYY in Philadelphia, returning to the Boston station in 2000 as director of membership. He remained at WGBH until overtaken by his illness in 2006.
At his side at his death was his wife, WGBH alum Jo-An Kilgore Heileman, whom he had met at the station.
He was born July 1, 1946, the son of the late Lawrence and Anne Heileman. He grew up in Danbury, Conn. He graduated from Iowa State University in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial administration and was immediately drafted into the Army, where he was stationed in Vietnam as a medic with the 25th Medical Battalion. Following his service he lived in Tokyo, where he worked as a copywriter for NHK, Radio Japan. He returned to the United States in 1974, earning an MBA from Boston University's Graduate School of Management.
Heileman is survived by his wife; her two children, Andrew Kilgore and Rebecca Liebman; and four grandchildren. He is also survived by his sisters, Anne Clubine and Christy Belvin; four nieces and nephews; nine great nephews and nieces, and his sister-in-law.
A private service will take place at a later date. Contributions may be made to WERS/Standing Room Only, a pubradio show he especially enjoyed (c/o 120 Boylston St., Boston, Mass., 02116), or Friends of the Paragon Carousel (P.O. Box 100, Hull, Mass., 02045).