His professional peers recognized him by election to the grade of fellow in the IEEE, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and as a member of the National Academy of Engineering. At the time it was noted that he became just the second alumnus of the New Jersey Institute of Technology to join the ranks of the Academy.
His contributions as an advisor to the U.S. Department of Defense are fabled. He led many major studies and served as chairman or vice chairman of major advisory committees.
These contributions were recognized in 2002 when he received the Eugene G. Fubini Award for giving valuable advice to the Defense Department. In presenting the award, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz noted:
“Dave, you made the world a better place than you found it. You made our country a safer country than you found it. On behalf of Secretary Rumsfeld and Eugene Fubini, who I’m sure is here with us, it is my pleasure to present you with the Eugene Fubini Award.”
Dave also possessed a marvelous perspective plus a great sense of humor. Some years ago, I started collecting one-liners. These Heebner-isms reflect those attributes:
“Hell hath no fury like a military staff officer whose decision memo was changed by his superior.”
“My goal in golf is not to shoot my age but to shoot the temperature. Last week when it was 97 degrees, I shot 106; so I’m closing in on it.”
Dave did indeed have a great life. And with Lynn always by his side, he did it all!
And he did it with style, grace, and humor. And, in so doing, he brought joy and warmth to all of us.