Thursday, May 2, 2013

Losing a member of our PNW gardening community

I've written and raved about Steamboat Island Nursery near Olympia, WA a few years back when I came down to pay the lovely Laine McLaughlin a visit. It was with great sadness, however, to learn that her partner in crime, Duane Heier, tragically passed away a few weeks ago in a light rail-train accident in Seattle. 

I didn't know Duane very well, but he was the kind of man that was obviously hard-working, very kind, and would do anything for Laine and the work involved keeping up with one of the most prominent specialty nurseries in the Puget Sound region.

Duane was the delivery guy, the re-stocker, the waterer; all the things that needed to  be done, he did and he did so with kindness and patience. One of my colleagues had said that he was easy going and so much involved in the business of growing and selling plants, yet he wasn't a plant-person at all.

It has been awhile since I saw Laine and to hear the news of his passing was just unreal. I'm so used to seeing Laine so upbeat and bubbly and she has the biggest smile each time she says "Hey, ________! How ya doin?"

I just hope that working in her garden/nursery again provides some therapy, while, I'm sure, it brings back a flood of memories of her and Duane. 

Ian Barclay of Desert Northwest blogged about Duane's passing and provided some links and numbers for us to possibly help out Laine during this very difficult time.

Donations directly to Steamboat Island Nursery:
8424 Steamboat Island Road, Olympia, WA 98502.

An account to cover funeral costs was created at Twin Star Credit Union
P.O. Box 718, Olympia, WA 98507-0718.
Checks should be made to “Laine McLaughlin” and the memo line should say “Duane Heier” and account #411133-00.”

If you want to talk donations, or donate cash, talk to Jay Higgins at You can also send messages to Laine directly to the nursery email:

 Rest in Peach, Duane. Do watch over Laine and trust that we're all looking after her.


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