R. I. P. Harold Heft

Expos’ fan, journalist dies of brain tumour
By Danny Gallagher
Canadian Baseball Network

If he had been in good health, he may have made the trip to Cooperstown, N.Y. for the induction event involving former Expos pitchers Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson.

At the very least, he would have watched the ceremony on MLB Network.

Sadly, just three days before induction day, Harold Heft died July 23 of a malignant brain tumour, a savage disease he was diagnosed with in February of 2014, the same affliction that nabbed one of his heroes, Expos great Gary Carter. Heft was only 50.

Heft had known about the frailties of life dating back to the time he was 10 when he required life-saving, open-heart surgery.

Heft was a baseball fanatic and loved the Expos. He breathed the Expos and wrote about them, whether it was mere stories about players but also book reviews. I never met him but we corresponded from time to time through email.

Heft was born in Montreal and gain a wealth of education, first at Wagar High school in Cote Saint-Luc and then he obtained three degrees in literature: from McGill University in Montreal, an MA from the Université de Montréal and a PhD from the University of Western Ontario.

His main career over the years was as a senior fundraising and communications professional, working out of Toronto for the University of Toronto (Faculty of Engineering), Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, The Hospital for Sick Children, Mount Sinai Hospital and North York General Hospital.

On the side, he put together a career in writing, editing and publishing, part of it on baseball. Over the last year, he was a co-editing a new book of collected personal stories of trauma and transformation. His stories and reviews appeared in such publications as the Globe and Mail, National Post, Toronto Star and Jewish Daily Forward.

When he found time, he volunteered for 10 years at Holy Blossom Temple on the Out of The Cold Program. 

Sandwiched around medical treatments, he also volunteered to help out in the library at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab Centre.

A multi-faceted man taken far too early. He leaves many admirers, including his mother Ruby, wife Suzanne, sons Sam and John and brothers Joel and Richard. His Expos’ fraternity will also miss him.