Jerome H. Heckman

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Heckman, Jerome H. Age 85 born June 7, 1927, died on January 21, 2013, a native and lifetime resident of Washington D.C. and co-founder of the Law Firm Keller and Heckman. Mr. Heckman was 85 years old. After attending Woodrow Wilson High School and serving as a Naval Air Cadet, Mr. Heckman graduated from Georgetown University in 1948 and then Georgetown University Law School in 1953. Mr. Heckman became General Counsel of the Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc. (SPI) in 1954 while he was an associate attorney with the firm of Dow, Lohnes and Albertson. In 1962, with the late Joseph E. Keller, also then a partner at Dow, Lohnes and Albertson, he founded the firm of Keller and Heckman and continued to serve as SPI General Counsel until 2002. During this time of enormous growth in the plastics industry, he shepherded the handling of every major legal and regulatory problem the industry faced. This included the successful effort to prevent the banning of plastic garment bags in the late 50's, the continuous struggle to persuade the building and code officials to use the industry's products to make pipe, lighting fixtures and other major parts of the built environment, and helped bring to market such significant plastics products as beverage bottles and many types of plastics food wraps. Beginning in 1957, he specialized in dealing with Food and Drug Administration clearance matters for the plastics industry and brought many other food, drug and cosmetic industry client of his firm. Beginning in 1970, to aid in this work, he hired and integrated into his law firm a number of well-credentialed chemists and toxicologists. Today, Keller and Heckman is uniquely different in that it has a scientific community of PhD's and other chemistry and toxicology experts who support its lawyers in its Washington D.C., Brussels, San Francisco and Shanghai offices. Among his most significant achievements was the creation of new language in the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to make it possible for innovators to obtain clearance for their packaging materials changes in a fixed time of 120 days after the Notifications are filed with the FDA; this statutory change came about in 1997 as a direct result of a Heckman initiative. * His honors include being inducted into the Plastics Hall of Fame in 1986. * Awarded the Spes Hominum (Hope of Mankind) medal by the National Sanitation Foundation in 1987. * He was presented with a Director's Special Citation Award from the Food and Drug Administration in June of 2000 for his participation in the establishment of a new system for FDA approval of food contact surfaces. * He received the first William Bradbury award for outstanding contributions to the plastics packaging industry from the SPI Color Additives and Compounders Division at a ceremony in April of 2000. * He was the recipient of the Paul R. Dean Award, the highest honor the Georgetown University Law Center bestows on an alumnus in June 2001. * He was awarded its International Achievement Award by the International Society of Regulatory Toxicologist and Pharmacologists in December of 2005. * He was inducted into the Packaging Hall of Fame and enshrined at Michigan State University in October of 2007. Mr. Heckman was the author of more than 125 papers on administrative law subjects, most of which were published as book chapters or in a variety of law and trade journals. Mr. Heckman also established a Law Center Scholarship through a gift of a charitable remainder trust to provide scholarships for law students at Georgetown Law School. And it's all partly because of pickles and prize money. When he began law school, tuition was $150 a semester. He had a wife and baby and to help make ends meet, he sold pickles for his uncle for $75 a week. It still was not enough. "At that time if you maintained the highest average in the law class, you won a $50 Faculty Prize to use toward tuition," remembered Heckman. "If you were second, you got $25. My first semester, I got $25, and that really upset me because I needed the money. So from then on, I got $50, every semester until I graduated." A local bookstore owner asked how he managed to do so well in class despite his other obligations. Heckman confided that he outlined every course beginning several days before the exam. The bookstore owner typed up the outlines, sold them and paid Heckman 30 percent. "That covered the rest of the tuition," he said. "That wasn't a bad deal", even considering the jokes made by Paul Dean that he was turning Georgetown into a correspondence school. Perhaps not surprisingly because of his own struggles to pay his tuition, Heckman has made a gift of a charitable remainder trust to provide scholarships for law students. The trust provides the security of a lifetime income reduced taxes and avoids the capital gains tax on the assets placed in the trust. "I decided that it was a real good financial decision for my family and would ultimately provide students with scholarships to ease their tuition burden, said Heckman. "The Georgetown University Law Center is important to the Washington D.C. community, to future law students and to lawyers," he said. "It does an excellent job and it's well worth supporting. Moreover, we all owe it a lot. I sincerely hope my fellow graduates will help Georgetown attract the best students by making sure there will be funds for scholarships." Mr. Jerome H. Heckman is survived by his wife, Ilona Ely Grenadier Heckman, a domestic relations lawyer in Virginia, who heads up her own firm, two sons, a stepson, stepdaughter and 6 grandchildren. His eldest son Eric Heckman, wife Fawn Donna, and their two sons Samuel Adam and Ronnie Max Heckman live in Rockville, Maryland. His son Carey Heckman lives in Hanover, New Hampshire; stepson Adam Ely Freedman, wife Brigit, grandson Ryan Taylor and granddaughter Emily Sara of Lansdowne, Virginia; stepdaughter Erika Ely Lewis, husband Timberlake, granddaughter Riley and grandson Jackson of Los Angeles California. Mr. Heckman was a major contributor to Georgetown University Law Center and the Producers Circle of the Kennedy Center. He was a member of Washington Hebrew Congregation, Woodmont Country Club, Boca Raton Resort and the Georgetown Club. The family has requested that any expression of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Jerome H. Heckman scholarship foundation at Georgetown University Law Center. Services will be held at Joseph Gawler's Sons, 5130 Wisconsin Ave, N.W. (corner of Harrison Street) Washington D.C. at 11:30am on January 24, 2013. Internment will follow at King David Memorial Gardens Falls Church VA. Family will receive friends at the Parc Somerset, 5630 Wisconsin Avenue, Chevy Chase Md 20815 following the internment.

Published in Washington Times from Jan. 23 to Feb. 21, 2013
Jerome H. Heckman
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