Sheila M. S. Hein
Hometown: University Park, Md., USA
Occupation: Budget and management specialist, U.S. Army
Location: Ground, Pentagon
"It was our own private sanctuary. What we have is primarily perennials--a variety of black-eyed Susans, iris, lilac and many different types of evergreens. Each bed is a variety that we created and that she tended with such care. It takes up the whole back yard, our own private park. Last spring, we were on the ladies club garden tour in University Park. We loved to gather in the evening--sit, have a drink, sometimes just watch the grass grow." -- Peg Neff, partner
Ask Peggy Neff about her longtime partner, Sheila Hein, and she points to their University Park back yard.
Seven years ago, they bought the house as a fixer-upper, its yard a tangle of overgrown brush. Today, it's "our own private park," Neff said, pointing out the flagstone patio they put in themselves, the meticulously kept gardens Hein designed and the homey benches tucked in quiet corners. "She is what this yard is," Neff said. "There's a whole lot of love here."
Hein, 51, was at the Pentagon on Tuesday, taking part in an Army internship, studying manpower analysis. A native of Springfield, Mass., she joined the Navy out of high school and was sent to Virginia. She spent 10 years in the service as a photographer, married twice and ventured into a career in computer graphics, working on government contracts.
She and Neff met 17 years ago, and she loved to laugh through life.
Three years ago, Hein received a bachelor's degree from Columbia Union College after taking courses here and there for 20 years. "She decided it was time to finish it," Neff said. She planned to get a master's degree.
Hein belonged to a steam train club, loved to read and recently convinced Neff that they should buy bicycles and ride together.
"We rode them six times," said Neff, adding that she'll continue to ride.
-- Maureen O'Hagan
Source: The Washington Post, AP and washingtonpost.com
The profiles in this feature were written in the months following Sept. 11, 2001.
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