In Memoriam: Jeff Heller
Texas lost an impactful member of the Longhorn Community with the passing of Jeff Heller, an All-American swimmer at UT, Marine Corps veteran and successful Dallas businessman.
- On Tuesday (Jan. 8), former Longhorn standout and American hero Jeff Heller passed away at the age of 80. He was an All-American swimmer at The University of Texas – winning four Southwest Conference titles – and became a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. Heller will be deeply missed by the Texas Community.
Heller grew up in Tyler, Texas and was fond of nature and competing as a child. Legendary Texas swimming coach Tex Robertson picked up on these characteristics and his ability to swim at Camp Longhorn during one of his summer visits. After Robertson took Heller under his wing, Heller knew he wanted to become a Longhorn even if he wasn’t able to secure a scholarship.
At Texas, Heller became an All-American in 1959 and won four SWC titles in the individual medley and butterfly events. Heller married his wife, Carol, in 1963 and would eventually enter the Marine Corps, training as a naval pilot during the Vietnam War. Despite having his wing clipped while flying in formation, forcing him to eject from his plane, his time served helped him become a better leader once he left the Marine Corps.
After his service, Heller climbed the ranks of Electronic Data Systems of Dallas and would eventually become the president and chief operating officer. Heller brought the leadership skills he developed in the business world to UT, serving as the president of the Longhorn Hall of Honor and becoming a member of the Mens’ Athletic Council and the advisory councils for the McCombs School of Business and the Engineering Foundation. Heller and his wife have been sponsors in the Forty Acres Scholars Program as donors for the Carol and Jeff Heller Forty Acres Scholarship.
There will be a memorial service at 1:00 p.m. on January 17th at the Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas (3300 Mockingbird Ln Dallas, Texas 75205). Condolences and memories can be shared on the website below.