June 10, 2011 > Remembering Alan
May 16, 1936 - April 21, 2011
"We brought out the best in each other," says Judy Heyman. Tranquil and composed, she reminisced of her life with husband Alan, before his recent passing. "It was a second marriage for both of us and we were at a great place in our lives; when I was with him, I felt validated." Alan had that effect on all who met him; close friends and casual acquaintances alike. His calm demeanor and sincere interest in those around him was inescapable, rapidly forming a comfortable cordon of trust that occurred without conscious effort.
In business and personal life, Alan was a fount of immeasurable patience coupled with a genuine concern for others. This demeanor may have been the result of his training in the family slip cover business that required meticulous attention to detail, extraordinary fortitude, serenity and a constant effort to achieve excellence. As a toddler he watched and learned as his family, specialty tailors, manufactured slip covers with the pride that comes from exceptional craftsmanship. A combination of these factors allowed Alan to develop an ability to lead through knowledge and understanding, producing exceptional results; friends and associates trusted his instincts and common sense. "He was a real charmer and always thinking," says Judy.
Her first contact with Alan was indicative of his unusual ability to put people at ease. Nervous in a new job as a home designer with Macy's, Judy arrived early for a seminar by Alan about fabrics. Her first words to Alan were, "I'm early" to which he replied, "I'm Alan." Repeated contact at subsequent seminars increased their attraction and six years later, in 1990, they married.
All was not smooth immediately following the marriage as their children from prior marriages resisted the union, but Judy remembers, "We had the opportunity to be happy and grabbed it!" adding, "I do not have one regret in the world." Overcoming adversity was possible for Alan no matter what obstacles blocked his path. Judy says, "He was like the Phoenix, always able to overcome bad situations."
Over time, the children grew to understand and appreciate the strong bond between Judy and Alan, sharing the love that drew them together. Through it all, even after 20 years of marriage, Judy says they could say to each other, "This was the best thing we could have ever done." Artistic backgrounds, a joy of life and the company of good friends were hallmarks of their life. "We had more friends and I laughed more during my life with Alan than my entire life before. He was the dream husband; the man of my dreams and love of my life."
She says, "We could wallpaper a room together without a bad word between us!" Judy remembers only one argument and even when that happened Alan recalled that we held hands. From entertaining friends to planting trees in the backyard, "everything was teamwork."
Alan's zest for life included a passion for photography and unbridled affection for his family. In response to this unabashed love, he was asked by Judy's daughter to be present in the delivery room for the birth of her daughter, Elizabeth. Between Judy and Alan, his sons Jeffery, Steven, Richard, and daughter Charleen and step-daughters Michele and Jennifer; seven granddaughters and one grandson will carry his legacy.
A statesman throughout his life, Alan was able to achieve by reasonable discourse and humor what some thought were impossible tasks. An active member of Niles Rotary, Fremont Symphony Board of Directors and other community organizations, he was always a voice of calm and reason. Alan worked diligently behind the scenes to calm often stormy negotiations that threatened completion of the long anticipated construction of Niles Plaza. In an even more amazing achievement, the thorny and seeming unending debate over maintenance of alleys in Niles was, at least partially resolved due to his efforts.
With fond memories of her life with Alan, Judy says, "I am very blessed." She is sure that with his sense of humor and boundless spirit, Alan is laughing, smiling and "having a party somewhere."