In Memory of Elisabeth Hudson Heininger

2009 CorningRepMassaOn Monday September 29, 2014, Lis Heininger, age 48, passed away at her home in New York after a long struggle with chronic Lyme disease. Lis and her husband Andy recently celebrated their 21st wedding anniversary with their daughter Marisa. Lis had a close relationship with her parents, Bonnie & Jim, and with their constant support and encouragement she overcame many obstacles to become the leader we know and love today. With Lis’s passing, the entire Lyme community lost one of its most courageous and inspiring leaders.

Lis was one of many people originally misdiagnosed with MS at a rather young age and was dedicated to education to prevent this tragedy from happening to others. Lis, correctly diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease about a decade ago, believes she had it most of her life. She held a Doctorate in Recreation Administration and had served as an adjunct and assistant professor at several colleges before her disease progressed.  

As the founder and Chair of the Corning-Finger Lakes Chapter of the Lyme Disease Association, she hosted many community awareness programs, including local Lyme disease awareness walks. She educated local Boy Scout troops, and served as a guest speaker at presentations of the award winning documentary Lyme disease film, “Under Our Skin.” Lis coordinated many educational forums at Corning, Inc, the local rotary, and in the the schools, at which Lyme Disease Association President Pat Smith, often participated, along with physicians, and legislators, providing compelling community presentations. She set up a number of important media and TV interviews on Lyme disease.

In addition, she played an important role as a chronic Lyme advocate in all levels of government. She took time to meet with legislators, bringing her story, the latest research findings and her incredible determination to the forefront in an attempt to make a difference for future generations.

Lis always took time to assist individuals with their Lyme related problems to help them navigate complex insurance/medical/treatment mazes to find solutions. She had a smile for everyone, and usually a great joke that would make you roar with laughter.

Although she physically struggled in so many ways, that never stopped her from her volunteer advocacy work and her goal of helping others. Her loving spirit and outright determination to spread the word about chronic Lyme disease was unmatched in many ways. Her own story was evidence for how debilitating Lyme disease could be and how taking proper prevention measures to avoid contracting tick-borne diseases was critical.

Lis, a brilliant lady with a quest for knowledge, often traveled great distances to attend Lyme conferences and strived to keep up with the latest science and medical advances in the tick-borne disease field. Other members of her family struggled with Lyme disease, and they were all committed to finding a cure and raising awareness. Andy, Marisa Bonnie and Jim often helped Lis with events and programs. She could not have accomplished as much as she did without their dedicated energy and support. With coordination of her church and her father, a professional vocalist, several fundraisers were held that helped raise money for tick-borne diseases research through the Lyme Disease Association, Inc..

Lis lived her motto: “It’s turning a negative into a positive.” She was a true inspiration for others. She will be sorely missed by so many, but her humor, determination, love and dedication to the Lyme community will last forever. We are grateful for all she did to make the lives of others so much better.

We send our condolences to her entire family for their loss.

Click here for Obituary – Dr. Elisabeth Jean Hudson Heininger

Her many friends can pay their respects during viewing hours at Phillips Funeral Home and Cremation Service, 17 West Pulteney Street, Corning, NY 14830 on Thursday, October 2 from 5:00pm to 9:00pm.The funeral service will be held at Grace United Methodist Church, 191 Bridge Street in Corning on Friday, October 3 at 11:00 am. A committal service for the family will follow at Chapel Knoll and return to the church for a luncheon.

The family will provide flowers and ask that funds in Lis’ honor be directed to a scholarship fund being set up for her daughter, Marisa. Checks may be made payable to: Andrew Heininger and sent to P.O. Box 1272, Corning, NY . The family wishes to extend their heartfelt thanks for all the marvelous support that has been shown to them over the years – school, church and community friends, co-workers, neighbors, and national groups.