The Chronicle Herald (Provincial) - - OBITUARIES -

It is with im­mea­sur­able sad­ness that we an­nounce the sud­den and tragic loss of our cher­ished mom, wife and daugh­ter, Heidi Steven­son (nee Burkholder). Heidi died in the line of duty as a mem­ber of the Royal Cana­dian Mounted Po­lice (RCMP) on April 19, 2020.

Born on July 11, 1971, Heidi grew up in Antigo­nish, Nova Sco­tia. Known to be a smart, in­de­pen­dent girl who al­ways stood up for her­self, Heidi was an ac­tive mem­ber of the lo­cal 4-H club and an avid reader and baker in her youth. Her par­ents, Avon Bro­phy and David Burkholder, taught her from a very young age to em­brace her cre­ativ­ity, be open-minded and to al­ways be her­self. She car­ried these traits with her through life and be­cause of them was al­ways up for a chal­lenge or to try some­thing new.

Heidi grad­u­ated from Aca­dia Univer­sity with a Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence in 1993. Her time at Aca­dia was the start of many life­long friend­ships and the be­gin­ning of a new in­ter­est in rugby (a sport she would later coach as part of her ded­i­ca­tion to in­spir­ing young girls and giv­ing back to her com­mu­nity). It was also dur­ing her time at Aca­dia that she started a part time job with Cam­pus Safety and Se­cu­rity and her pas­sion for polic­ing was born.

Heidi loved her cho­sen ca­reer. There was no doubt in her mind when she grad­u­ated from Aca­dia that her next step was go­ing to be the RCMP. Reach­ing that goal wasn't al­ways easy but her in­cred­i­bly strong work ethic, driven per­son­al­ity and re­silient na­ture got her to ex­actly where she wanted to be. She held many dif­fer­ent roles through­out her 23 years as an ac­tive mem­ber – most notably her time spent rep­re­sent­ing the RCMP across the con­ti­nent as part of the Musical Ride (a job she took with­out even know­ing how to ride a horse). She loved her time work­ing at head­quar­ters as a Drug Recog­ni­tion ex­pert and was es­pe­cially proud of her ex­per­tise in that area and the re­spect the judges had for her pro­fes­sion­al­ism in court. Whether it was gen­eral duty, com­mu­nity polic­ing, com­mu­ni­ca­tions or train­ing, Heidi ded­i­cated her­self to her role, turned her col­leagues into friends and was a role model for many in the com­mu­ni­ties she served.

It was “the most beau­ti­ful smile I'd ever seen” that first at­tracted Dean to Heidi when she worked as a High School Li­ai­son Of­fi­cer at Cole Har­bour District High in 1997. Their con­nec­tion was strong from the start and even­tu­ally led them to pause their ca­reers and take a one-year leave of ab­sence to fo­cus on each other and teach English in Ja­pan. Their life to­gether has truly been filled with love, laugh­ter and ad­ven­ture. Heidi and Dean cher­ished their fam­ily ski trips, beach walks in Stan­hope, PEI and one-hour kid-free in­ter­ludes for a glass of red wine. The feel of her hand hold­ing his, the way she called him “Hon” and the gen­tle pecks on the cheek she'd give as she snuck off to work in the morn­ing will be held in Dean's heart for­ever.

Even with her ex­ten­sive list of ac­com­plish­ments in both ca­reer and life, Heidi found her one true call­ing when she be­came a Mom. She cher­ished Con­nor and Ava and they cher­ished her. From birth­day par­ties to spe­cial oc­ca­sions to hol­i­days, Heidi had a way of mak­ing ev­ery­thing spe­cial and fun (even if it meant cook­ing and dec­o­rat­ing in the mid­dle of the night). When she spoke of Con­nor and Ava her eyes lit up. When she stood next to them, she had her arms around them. When she cheered them on at hockey games, she cheered the loud­est. And when she tucked them into bed at night, she al­ways took the time to cud­dle and re­view their day. One thing Con­nor and Ava al­ways knew was just how much their mom loved them. Heidi's grit and de­ter­mi­na­tion live on in Con­nor and her beau­ti­ful smile in Ava.

Heidi was the neigh­bor who waved at ev­ery­one. She was the busy par­ent who vol­un­teered at the school. She was the friend who de­liv­ered cin­na­mon buns and home­made bread. She was the sec­ond mom to many kids who came over to play. She was the gen­tle smile when you needed it most. Heidi made an im­pact on this world and words can't be­gin to express how much she will be missed.

In ad­di­tion to Dean, Con­nor, Ava and her par­ents, Heidi leaves be­hind her fa­ther's part­ner Merle Bryant, par­ents-in-law Doug and Mar­garet Steven­son, aunts Mary (Ken) Willsie, Water­loo ON, Ruth (Tom) Witte, Lib­erty Cen­ter, Ohio, and cousins Jef­frey, Su­san, Lara and Marissa and a large ex­tended fam­ily. She was pre­de­ceased by her step­fa­ther Joe Bro­phy, her grand­par­ents Clay­ton and Helen Burkholder and Owen and Mar­garet Bech­tel.

A pri­vate fam­ily ser­vice will be held in the days to come. A proper cel­e­bra­tion of Heidi's life will be planned at a later date. In lieu of flow­ers, please con­sider a dona­tion to the Royal Cana­dian Mounted Po­lice Foun­da­tion. If you would like to leave a spe­cial mem­ory of Heidi or a con­do­lence mes­sage to her fam­ily please do so by vis­it­ing www.at­lantic­fu­ner­al­homes.com (Dart­mouth Chapel)

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