J.Cody Harper van Heerden


J.Cody Harper van Heerden, 58, passed away on Wednesday Sept. 12, 2018, after a brief battle with ALS. She was blessed to be surrounded by her family at the time of her passing.

Cody was born on Oct. 7, 1959, to Donald L. Harper and Barbara Eames Harper in Worcester, Mass. She spent her childhood in Croton-on Hudson, N.Y., and her summers on East Pond in the Belgrade Lakes, where she developed a love for Maine. At age 15, she attended Florida Institute of Technology for her senior year of high school. She completed her undergraduate education at Colby College with a BSc in geology/biology and it was there that she met her future husband, Christiaan van Heerden. She continued her education at Brown University getting a master’s degree in geology, specializing in micropaleontology as an indicator of climate conditions and change. Newly married in 1982, Cody and Christiaan moved to Walpole, Maine, where Cody shifted her focus to sediment chemistry at the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center. She received a second master’s degree in oceanography and worked at Bigelow Laboratory and for the Department of Environmental Protection as an environmental and regulation specialist. Cody and Christiaan moved to a geodesic dome in Whitefield, where their daughter Alexi was born and Cody’s life priorities shifted from getting educated to educating. In 1988, her family settled on Mount Desert Island and made their home with the Atlantic for a front yard and Acadia National Park as the back. Their daughter Eliza was born in 1989 and Cody began her a lifelong love of educating her children, family and others. She taught math, developed curriculums, coached soccer and basketball and served on the board, all at The Bay School in Blue Hill, where her children attended. She also served on the boards of Acadia Wildlife Foundation, the Neighborhood House, SPCA of Hancock County and the Mount Desert Nursery School, which she chaired. Since 2005, Cody has been an active trustee of the College of the Atlantic, where she also completed a third master’s degree in human ecology with a focus on institutional economics. Cody and her husband also owned Moss Gallery in Northeast Harbor and she was co-owner of Artemis Gallery with her partner, Deirdre Swords.

Cody believed in community, regard and respect and those qualities are what she looked for in life as she felt that those qualities changed everything.

Cody is survived by her husband, Christiaan; her daughters, Alexi and Eliza; her brother, John Harper and his daughter, Sarafina; and her dogs, Induna and Zuma and grand dog, Chaka.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to College of the Atlantic, 105 Eden St., Bar Harbor, ME 04609 or SPCA of Hancock County, 141 Bar Harbor Road, Trenton, ME 04605.

A service will be held at a later date in Northeast Harbor.

Arrangements by Jordan-Fernald, 1139 Main St., Mount Desert. Condolences may be expressed at www.jordanfernald.com.


Know when to pay your respects.