Shirley Heinze Land Trust received a bequest from the estate of Dune Acres resident J. Timothy Ritchie.

Ritchie died on Aug. 14 at the age of 79. A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, he received an undergraduate degree from Yale University, and a graduate degree from the University of Chicago Law School. After a successful career at the Northern Trust Bank, he retired in 1998. Ritchie enjoyed travel, opera, reading, hiking, golf and the daily crossword puzzle of multiple newspapers. He was a patron of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Santa Fe Opera and the Chicago Symphony. He served on the board of Openlands, a land conservation organization in northeast Illinois, and also on the board of the Indiana Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.

Ritchie’s connection to the natural environment began during childhood visits to his family’s cabin in the woods along the shore of Lake Superior. “I fell in love with nature during that time," he once recounted. He and his partner, the late J. Richard Brannon, became involved with Shirley Heinze Land Trust by attending the organization’s "spring fling" hikes that were organized by Dune Acres resident and life board member Barbara Plampin. She remembers that “they loved the walks and learning about the local environment. They were impressed by the work of Shirley Heinze to preserve these treasures.” Brannon, who died in 2014, also left a gift to the organization in his estate.

“This astounding gift from Tim has affected me deeply,” said board member Anne Walsh. “In this last loving and generous gesture, he has opened up a world of possibilities for Shirley Heinze Land Trust. It has also given the organization a secure footing far into the future. The action he took will be an inspiration for me and for all of us to advance the work of stewarding precious natural areas for all to enjoy in northwestern Indiana.”

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