- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 3, 2007


Vicki Kaye Heilig, a former historian general of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, died April 30 at Rowan Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, N.C., after an extended bout with cancer. She was 61.

Miss Heilig was born Jan. 12, 1946, in Salisbury, and was a 1964 graduate of East Rowan High School and a 1967 graduate of Pfeiffer College. She received a master’s degree from the College of William & Mary and retired in 1997 from IBM after a career as a programmer.

Miss Heilig was a dedicated member of the UDC, having served as its historian general from 2002 to 2004. She also served as the D.C. division’s president from 1992 to 1994 and from 1998 to 2002. She was a recipient of the organization’s Jefferson Davis Medal.

Miss Heilig was well-known for her humor. Martha Boltz, a longtime friend, recalled her discussions of former Vice President Al Gore and former President Bill Clinton at the UDC’s Friendship Dinners.

“She could be a total hoot but was a very shy person in reality,” Miss Boltz said. “She would take off on Al Gore and Bill Clinton and have everyone of any political persuasion rolling in the aisles.”

Friends said Miss Heilig was a driving force in the Confederate Memorial Committee. She helped lead the association’s annual memorial ceremony each June at the Confederate Monument in Arlington and also had led the ceremony in Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol each year honoring Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s birthday.

In the mid-1990s, Congress rejected the UDC’s federal patent on its insignia. As a thank-you gesture to senators who voted in favor of the patent, Miss Heilig brought pecan pies to the Senate.

When she encountered a senator on an elevator, he asked whether one of the pies was for him. “No, senator, you did not vote for the UDC, so I have no pie for you,” she replied, a response friends say captured her character.

Miss Heilig worked closely with Virginia Tech professor and Civil War historian James I. Robertson performing research and fundraising for documentaries and books about the Civil War.

“She knew every avenue of Civil War history that exists,” Mr. Robertson said. “She was always there giving so much and never asking for anything in return except a thank-you.”

Miss Heilig founded the Montgomery County Civil War Round Table more than 20 years ago in Gaithersburg, after she tried to join a local round table and was told women were not allowed.

“She will be deeply missed, and her ready smile and twinkling eyes will always be with us,” said UDC President General Janice Langford. “She is a marvelous example of the reason our motto is, ‘Love Makes Memory Eternal.’ ”

Miss Heilig is survived by a brother, Charles F. Heilig of Charlotte, N.C.

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