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Lainye Reich Heiles ’91

July 31, 2020, in Vancouver, Washington,

Lainye was born on New Year’s Day 1969, the oldest of three close-knit siblings. She discovered dance and the outdoors at a young age, the beginning of what would become a lifelong pursuit of movement and outdoor adventure. Lainye’s genius was her athleticism—moving consciously through space, creating beauty and expressing something from deep within herself.

She honed her gifts as a critical thinker, joyful dancer, and no-nonsense truth teller at Reed, where she surrounded herself with wonderful friends. A family member recalled, “She had a taste for high-quality individuals.” Her warm, magnificent smile was an invitation to swiftly reenter the generous and energetic connection she offered. Lainye wrote her thesis, “The Vietnam War and Filmic Event: The Deer Hunter, First Blood, and Platoon,” with Prof. Christopher Zinn [English 1985–92]. She chose the Reed front lawn as the location of her wedding to Tod Heiles, attended by many of her Reed friends.

Her Reed thesis led to a career in documentary filmmaking, producing and editing films, largely for Oregon Public Broadcasting. When video production proved financially insecure, she went back to school for her master’s in computer science and landed a job at Hewlett Packard, before ultimately rising to project manager in the videoconferencing industry. Long before we were all using Zoom, Lainye rigged her camper van to look like a home office so she could sleep next to the Columbia Gorge, work remotely by day, and windsurf in the evening.

In 2013, Lainye was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of breast cancer. She faced intensive chemotherapy and multiple surgeries: this was her mountain. She set in for the climb, absorbing all the information she could and taking on aggressive treatments, which saved her life but had devastating consequences.

Lainye leaves behind her two teenaged daughters, Skye and Ciela; her brother, Nathan; her sister, Sacha; and her mother, Norma. She was laid to rest next to her recently deceased father at Havurah Shalom cemetery, not far from her childhood home in Portland’s West Hills. We remain stunned by her passing. We remember her for her ambition and adventurousness, for her powerful intellect and radiant warmth, and for her spontaneity, courage, and optimism. —Contributed by Paul Edison-Lahm ’83 and Allen Poole ’92

Appeared in Reed magazine: March 2021

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