A great American hero passes on

Last week, a true patriot and Heritage’s longest serving employee, Richard Odermatt, Director of Research Editing, passed on peacefully from this world. 

His dedication to the quality of Heritage research reflected his strong belief in the principles of conservatism and desire to see them create a stronger America. His positive attitude, laser sharp intellect, eagle eye for details, biting wit and deep faith gave life to the work he did at Heritage.


President Ed Feulner had the following words to say about Richard’s passing:

The Heritage Foundation has lost its longest serving employee and one of its dearest friends. Richard Odermatt, our Director of Research Editing, was one of the most erudite men in Washington, profoundly talented, and blessed with a gentle, loving soul.

Richard possessed an endless range of knowledge and the ability to give attention to the smallest detail—qualities that made him the most talented research editor I have ever known.

He came to Heritage on January 22, 1975, and quickly made himself indispensable. In the early days, he not only edited our research papers, he would hand-deliver them to Congressional offices once or twice a week.

Richard lived a rich life outside of Heritage, too. He spoke nine foreign languages—ancient and modern—and travelled extensively. He taught English at a community college, was a seminary professor (and tutor) of Byzantine chant, and a cantor at the Holy Transfiguration Melkite Greek Catholic Church in McLean, Va.

Grounded in deep faith, he was unflappable in times of stress and over-joyed at the joy of others. We at Heritage will miss his warm presence, his shy, sly smile and his self-effacing humor. May God rest his beautiful soul.

His legacy is one that all of us on the Heritage team can learn from and will seek to carry out in the years ahead.

Please join me in saying a prayer for his family during this difficult time.

If you have any memories or encouraging words you would like to share with his family please comment below and we will share them.


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