Stephan Moore Heider was born in Northampton, Massachusetts on March 24, 1940, and was raised in Lawrence, Kansas. His parents, Fritz and Grace Heider, taught psychology at the University of Kansas for many years. The family also included oldest brother Karl, middle brother John, and the English Springer Spaniel Tony.
Steve was always fascinated with electricity, and according to his mother, explored the electrical plugs at an early age. At Pinkney grammar school he built an intercom and then a lighting board for the high school theatre. As he grew up, he bought World War II surplus parts and built his own radios and other devices. He got his Ham radio license (WØLUB) when was he was 12. (In later years, he was very proud to be a member of the Quarter Century Wireless Association.)
After high school, Steve selected physics as career path, and did his undergraduate work both domestically and abroad, in Durham, England. Along with his course work, he continued his independent exploration of applied technology, and at the University of Minnesota, he worked at the same radio station as Garrison Keillor.
Steve first came to Buffalo when he was accepted to the University at Buffalo (UB) doctorate program in physics in 1966. He dreamed of having computer analytics when memory was 4 kilowords in a Data General early computer. Building his equipment from scratch took time but resulted in several papers in atomic physics. After graduating in 1976, he left to go to Pittsburgh to work on computerizing mass spectrometers.
When Steve returned to Buffalo in 1978, he worked at the UB Physics Department and then choose to be an Independent consultant. He helped a number of businesses, including General Electric, computerize their equipment for data analytics. Steve felt strongly about keeping people employed using technology and not taking jobs away through automation.
Steve met future wife Arvela at the UB Flint loop bus stop in 1979. After getting their marriage license in Niagara Falls, they went to a Chinese restaurant and fortunately found out their zodiac signs were compatible. Steve married Arvela on May 7, 1983. They bought a “fixer upper” house in 1984 and enjoyed working on making it into a wonderful home.
Steve and Arvela’s 37-year marriage was a joyful partnership founded on intellectual curiosity and exploration. They built a business, Holark Systems—a collaboration from the name to the work itself. Their life together was also filled with many trips to science museums in the US, England, Europe, and even Australia. At home, their bookcases were lined with books on all subjects, and Steve remarked how he would read the titles and the books would reach out and grab him. Breakfasts were often delayed by a delightful read.
He was much beloved by his nieces and nephews. They (and their children) also brought great joy into his life. At almost two, the very youngest great-niece shows a desire to explore the world around her much the way Steve did all of his life.
Steve loved parties and we are planning on bringing family and friends together in the summer to share memories.