Douglas J. Heller, 57, Historian


Douglas J. Heller, 57, a Springfield Township commissioner whose development drew fans and acclaim from those interested in the Revolutionary War and other early American historic events, died May 25 at the Keystone House in Wyndmoor.

Heller's interest in history served him well when he got involved in saving the historic Black Horse Inn from destruction, thanks to the movement he organized.

His website was reportedly a well of information for reporters working on the National Parks Services commemoration of the Presidents House in Center City.

Serving as a commissioner from 2008 to earlier this year, he used the website to inform the community of current events in the township. His expertise in websites led him to developing a number of them for area organizations, including the first site for the National Museum of American Jewish History here.

His sense of historical protocol proved handy when journalists asked him for comments about a situation in Carson, Calif., where the mayor, Jim Dear, ordered the City Hall flag to be lowered upon news of the death of Michael Jackson in 2009.

Heller's lament of the mayor's "trivialization of the flag" led to the mayor reconsidering his actions and the introduction of legislation that would prevent Dear and future Carson mayors from having a say in such matters.

Heller is survived by his wife, Nancy; his parents, Myra and Jack; two sons, Greg and Rob; a stepdaughter, Megan; and two sisters and a brother.


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