Heidi Mauracher Tribute

Friends of Heidi Mauracher remember…

It’s been very difficult for me to accept that my very best friend is no longer here…

I met Heidi Mauracher in June of 1997 when she came in as an instructor for Golden Gate School located at Mills College in Oakland. I remember Heidi being scared and at the same time very excited about teaching the class. I was her trustee for the class, so I was there to help her. I was amazed at her talent and down to earth qualities, and we immediately hit it off. Her class was a weeklong class, everyone in the class became very close and people were in tears at the end of the week. It was a very moving experience to the students as well as myself. Heidi had a quality of teaching that students loved. She made everyone feel very comfortable in her class and never afraid to ask questions. Heidi and I grew to be very good friends, talking on the phone every other night for two or three hours at a time. I came to know her very well, her family, her friends, the things and the people that she loved.

I would frequently go down to Santa Barbara to visit Heidi or help her with a wedding, and on a few occasions she came up to the Bay Area to assist me with a wedding and or shoot a wedding up here with me.

Heidi had a great love of travel and music. We took several trips together including Mexico, New England, Paris, London, New Mexico and Arizona. Our trip to Arizona and New Mexico was wonderful. We flew to Arizona, rented a car and drove all around Arizona and New Mexico. We visited Georgia O’Keefe’s old home in the desert, and visited places where Ansel Adams used to photograph. It was a wonderful trip. We visited Santa Fe where we had wonderful Mexican food and sat in cafes in the warmth of New Mexico and visited jewelry shops where we bought silver jewelry. We visited Taos, and the Rio Grande River and took photographs around the desert. It was a trip I will always remember.

Heidi loved the desert, and one of her most favorite places ever was Monument Valley. Whenever she spoke of places she loved, Monument Valley was on the top of the list. It is also the place where she created one of her prize-winning photographs of a bride and groom.

When Heidi and I took a trip to London (where we visited the British Photographers Convention where she was picking up one of her many trophies) we had a wonderful time. She knew several British photographers and it was great to visit another country and to see what their world was all about..

After London, we took the Chunnel to Paris where we stayed with Heidi’s longtime childhood friend Annie. Fortunately, Heidi spoke French very fluently, so we had no problem getting around Paris. Paris was wonderful. We visited the Orsay Musuem, which was a wonderful place. Our first night in Paris we went and had a wonderful dinner with Annie and some other friends and stayed until 5 o’clock in the morning and had a great time. We visited cafes where we drank coffee and talked about friends and photography and all the places we wanted to visit.

One of Heidi’s favorite things to do was listen to New Age Music. When I would go visit her, we would take long drives to Ojai and listen to Carlos Nakai, or Kitaro or some other New Age Artists that she loved. We would go to cafes in Montecito and discuss art, photography and travel.

Our other favorite things to do were sit and relax with her three adorable cats, Monte, Georgia and Ansel. Monte was named after Monte Zucker, Ansel was of course after Ansel Adams, and Georgia was named after Georgia O’Keefe. These three creatures Heidi Loved dearly. She even had her own language that she would talk to them in.

Heidi had a great passion for people and for life. Most people that encountered her would remember her. Heidi loved teaching, being with photographer friends and her kitty cats and traveling. She loved books and music and could play classical guitar. Her standards for herself were always set extremely high, and she was a perfectionist when it came to her photography, which of course showed in her amazing body of work that she created.

I was so very thrilled when Heidi met the love of her life…Jim Divitale. I remember her being so happy and excited and a sparkle in her eyes that said “I’m in love”. Her enthusiasm was contagious. I couldn’t believe that she had met the man of her dreams and he was a COMPUTER GURU! Wow! It was the answer to my prayers!

I miss Heidi so much, and still cannot believe that she is gone…Heidi was such an inspiration in many ways. I realize that she will always live on in my heart and whenever I see bright colors and hear wonderful music or see kitty cats or beautiful inspirational photographs…I know that Heidi is there…

Love to you girlie,

You will always be in my thoughts

Brenda Cooper, California


I, Sherri Reiner, write this message with deep sadness in my heart. Heidi Mauracher was like a sister to me! Words cannot express how much she impacted my life and my husband’s. James and I are the fortunate couple who she spent hours and hours with making the wedding album which she won a 100% score for. I met Heidi in 1996 in Santa Barbara. From the day I met Heidi she was always an angelic being helping those in need and bringing pure sunshine to everyone she knew. When I met her in 1996, I was engaged. During the time I knew her, I went through three engagements and six operations. She was always there inspiring me, telling me how beautiful I was, and re-assuring me of how my Mr. Right was out there. When I found my Mr. Right, James my husband now, she was as excited for me as I was. James and I were unable to have the elegant grand wedding that other couples have. We got married in Texas at the church down the street with our family and close friends (30 people). Then we had everyone come over to our house afterwards for a glass of champagne, hors d’oeuvres, and cake. When you look at our wedding album, you get a sense of a “Cinderella fantasy” type of wedding. Heidi created this! It was a very simple wedding and she manifested it into an elaborate fairytale. Heidi was the definition of a true artist in every way, shape, and form. She was like Beethoven, composing music with her photographs. The talent she had is indescribable. For example, my husband James HATED to have his picture taken before he met Heidi. He NEVER smiled for the camera, and avoided the camera at all costs. When we were getting married, I told him about my relationship with Heidi and how important the photographs were to me. He said he would “try” and cooperate, but really wasn’t excited about it. When you look at our wedding album, James is smiling in every picture. He looks relaxed, and at peace with the camera. Heidi created this! She had the ability to take the individual’s inner beauty and capture it in the camera! James and I look at our wedding album everyday! We became so connected to Heidi that she would come to Texas a week at a time to visit. She was our second family. We loved her with all of our hearts and always will! Heidi had the most beautiful soul of any human being I have ever met! When she met Jim, her true soul mate, her Mr. Right, she lit up like a Christmas tree! James and I were so excited for her! Here was a woman who had dedicated her life to giving couples heirlooms (her wedding albums) that they could cherish all of their lives. However, she herself was alone. She deserved more than anyone else in the world to met her soul mate and live happily ever after. I feel at peace in my soul that she did in fact do that! I want to thank Jim DiVitale for coming into her life and bringing her more joy and contentment than he could ever possibly imagine! We will all miss Heidi! I know she is up in heaven and I pray for her happiness everyday!

Sherri Reiner, California


I first met Heidi at Golden Gate School in 2001. Each night after a long day of teaching a Beginning Photoshop class in a formal school setting I would kick back for an informal after hours play time with the students and fellow instructors. It was during these informal activities that I found a true friend in Heidi Mauracher. The time I first met Heidi she was, struggling to learn Adobe Photoshop like many in in the photography field. (Photoshop is an awesome program, but most photographers have their moments of frustration when attempting to master the techniques!) She was beside herself with frustration because after four days as a beginning Photoshop student she had enrolled in and was struggling to comprehend an advanced class taught by Eddie Tapp! On this night, after she shared her frustration with me, I said, “Heidi, let me show you some things this program can do.” I showed her how to convert images to black and white and then to add color back into specific parts. This was all I showed her! Then I left her alone with my computer to play with this idea while I made a telephone call to my husband. I returned two hours later. I realized there was a new look on Heidi¹s face. It was a look that said, “I will not let this program get the best of me!” I had no idea how true that would prove to be!

The next time I saw Heidi was at the 2002 National Association of Photoshop Professionals in San Diego. I had heard that she had been awarded a perfect score of 100% at the 2002 WPPI Convention in Las Vegas on a wedding album she had designed in Photoshop. She was all aglow when I saw her, radiating like the sun, and I thought it was because of her new accomplishments. Heidi ran up to me and began sharing with me that she had found the love of her life – Jim DiVitale! I said, “You mean the Photoshop guru of the century?” And she said, “Yes!” I thought back to that first meeting time with her, and said, “Oh my goodness, I can’t believe it!” And she responded, ³Isn¹t it great?² She then shared with me that when Eddie Tapp found out about their new relationship, he cried for joy. Eddie knew (as did we all) this relationship could open up ways for Heidi to share and grow in a manner never before possible for her!

Heidi and I discussed getting together in Santa Barbara many times in 2001, but this never seemed to happen. She made me promise before I left Photoshop World that I would come and visit her at her home in Santa Barbara “sometime soon.” I am the type of person who hates to leave my husband for hours each day while we are working, much less for days at a time. But we set a date and I did arrange to spend three days with Heidi at her Santa Barbara home – and I am so happy that I did make that arrangement! It is difficult for me to express the joy I feel from spending that time with her. You see, I thought Heidi wanted me to come to Santa Barbara to “³talk Photoshop” like so many other individuals in my life. It was half way through my second day there that I realized this was not the case at all! At this time I asked Heidi, “Don¹t you want me to share with you my perception of Photoshop?” She said in response, “No way! You need a break from people always pick-pick-picking at you about Photoshop.” And indeed I did! She said, :”I just wanted to give you a break and to share my beautiful Santa Barbara with you.” And indeed she did. I was able to do what seemed at the time perfectly natural: I spent the time with Heidi and her “one true love,” Jim. Their relationship had escalated, and there was no separation between them even though physically they were miles apart thanks to that wonderful invention, the cell phone! This behavior took me back to memories of 1982 when I was dating my ³one true love²: I was in Albuquerque, NM and he was in Ventura, CA. We could only talk once a week on Sunday nights for five hours at a time! Or, at least that¹s what we tried to limit our contacts to. I would look forward to our Sunday nights – I lived for them! But Heidi and Jim were not limited to the normal long distance charges, and would talk 24/7, sharing her every activity with him. She would describe all the places she was showing me, and telling him “I will soon be sharing my beloved Santa Barbara with you, My Precious!”

I could not believe what a wonderful friend Heidi was and is! Her friendship continues to live within me, and I will always treasure such a special friend as Heidi! I consider her to be a ³bright star², and believe she will always shine on through the legacy she has left behind.

Gwen Lute, California

We shall miss her talent and friendship.

Pam & Peter Dyer, England

I wanted to go to Heidi’s memorial, but cannot as my son’s wedding is Friday with all the rehearsals & preparations taking place on Thursday. We are blessed in our industry with good friends. It is sad when a person like Heidi departs. I will be there in spirit.

Victoria Mal, Arizona

I met Heidi while at Monte Zucker’s class in Riverside last April (2002). Her warmth and artistry captured me, and her easygoing friendliness made her an instant friend. She offered me the opportunity to assist a wedding in Brooklyn, but I had a previous commitment of my own. I saw her again at Imaging USA in Atlantic City in July. For as busy as she was, for her wide circle of friends throughout the world, she took the time to be a friend and an encouragement to me. I will miss you, Heidi.

Kathleen Moser, Pennsylvania

We have lost a great photographer and person. I sent a card to Jim in hopes that the love and support will help him thru this hard time.

Carolyn De Anda, California

It is so very sad. I was in shock when I heard the news. James Kim Han over here in Honolulu shared with me that she was going to get married….I was estatic for her over that!

She was my most favorite instructor.

Sylvia Botza, Hawaii

I met Heidi online actually. We started chatting online a few years ago and it was pretty much a quarantee that every time I went online, she would instant message me with “HeyGirl”. We talked for hours about work, cats, competition prints, cats, Jim and cats. I finally got the chance to meet her for the first time last September at the PPANE convention. It was like seeing an old friend even though we had talked online for a long time. I miss her terribly and will think of her every time I shoot a wedding.

Jane Lydick Staid, New Hampshire

She’s truly going to be missed, not only as a great photographer, but also as a great friend!

Jeff Petry, California

It is with deep saddness that I write this note. We are sitting here in shock and do not know what to say. We keep saying to ourselves WHY what a waste. Our sympathy goes out to Jim and the Mauracher family.

Heidi, we will treasure the times and memories we have of you and our long chats over the net, Good Night & God Bless HMStarlite we will miss you very much. Love,

Roy & Maureen Lewis, United Kingdom

I remember the first time Heidi came to West Coast School. it was as a model for Gary Silber’s class on the old Riverside Campus. Her roommate was the “Brookie” for the class and offered to bring her for a model. That was the beginning of her involvement with West Coast School and with the Professional Photographers of California. Heidi came a long way fast and became an inspiration for many with her passion for her work and her beautiful images. She will be missed greatly by all who called her friend. Her memory will be with us forever in the images she created for all to enjoy.

Betty Huth, California

Jim, Helene, Julie, Family & Friends,

It is with a deep feeling of loss that I send this note to all. Jim, to have found your soul mate and then to lose her in such a short time is a heartbreak.

Each of us in our own way wants to make a mark in this world and it is undisputed that Heidi did just that. Her images will last more than a lifetime for the lucky people that graced her lens. Her desire to impart knowledge will last more than a lifetime to the lucky people that were her students. Her sincere interest in people and their happiness was a quality many do not have. She will be missed, not only in the photographic community, but on the earth. Our consolation must be, that somewhere in the great unknown we will all meet again. I will hold fast to that thought, and think of the times I laughed and spent time with Heidi in Florida so her life will be one of celebration and joy.

Nancy Soles, Florida

I wanted to share some sad news with you. Heidi Mauracher passed away from Cancer Friday evening. She only found out she had it about 6 weeks ago. Heidi was very active in PPA and a couple of months ago gave a program for PPOC and had also recently completed a DVD on Photoshop with Dean Collins. Last year she achieved a perfect 100 on a Wedding Album she entered at last years PPA National Convention. She also is featured on Adobe’s website with a quicktime movie interview on her use of Photoshop 6.

She was engaged to wed Jim DiVitale (I introduced them a year and a half ago) and was extremely close to Eddie Tapp, Monte Zucker and many others. Her funeral is this coming Thursday in the Santa Barbara area. I met Heidi a couple of years ago helping out on an Eddie Tapp seminar. At the time she knew nothing in Photoshop and actually had some of the students upset because she slowed the class way down. To see what she accomplished in the time since then is astonishing. I take comfort in the fact that the last several months of her life were as she told me the best times she had ever had. She always had a smile on her face and was a very giving person.

She will be missed.

Bryan Linden, California

Heidi will be missed but she now has that “Angel light” for every shot.

Bill Duncan

Dear Friends,

It is with much regret and sadness that I write to you. The earthly physical struggle that Heidi had to deal with is over. I want to assure you that she was able to read each and every message that you sent her. Heidi was deeply touched by your loving wishes. Every one of you is special and your thoughtfulness and encouragement meant so very much to her.

When I entered Photography just a few short years ago, I began to come in contact with images from certain Photographers that provided personal motivation and inspiration. There were maybe a couple dozen Photographers on my “list.” Heidi, of course, was one of those Photographers.

When I was introduced to Heidi, even though I hadn’t yet done anything much Photographically, she instantly accepted and welcomed me into the fold of “The Greatest Profession On The Face Of The Earth.”

Meeting Heidi had a profound effect on me. It was as if she expected, without expectations, the very best I was capable of. It has been said that some people can exceed their own “self-imposed limitations,” because of another’s faith in them. Heidi immediately extended her knowledge, enthusiasm, encouragement, passion and faith to me.

Heidi, I believe, did not completely understand the vast and profound effect that her achievements and accomplishments meant until your letters, e-mails and messages began to pour in. There were e-mails from all over the world. Heidi laughed, cried and read everything over and over . again and again.

Heidi’s beautiful work will live forever in Books and Magazines. Most of all, the “spirit” of Heidi’s work will live in the minds and hearts of those who were fortunate enough to come into contact with it. Her kindness and generosity was given freely and without reservation.

Heidi was a dreamer and a high achiever! They say that high achievers fantasize and dream incessantly about how to achieve their dreams. As Monte might say “Reach for the moon and even if you miss it you will hit the stars!” Heidi reached for the moon and got it!


Sweet Dreams and all our love,

Robert Hughes, Ohio on behalf of your beloved profession

Sheri and I had the Wonderful opportunity to spend nearly a week with Heidi in Korea last year. It was an incredible experience to grow close to such a unique and special person. We were able to know the depth, not just the surface. She reflected such a need and passion to express what was deep inside her which was to say the least, Incredible. Everyone will remember very special experiences with Heidi, God Bless and Keep Her. To Jim and the family, All of our Love and Compassion. With deepest Sympathy,

J Michael and Sheri McBride, Nebraska

In case you didn’t know Heidi, she was an incredible photographer and creative artist who made many impressive inroads in the world of professional photography.

Michael Loeb, California

It is with great sadness to report that we lost a GREAT PHOTOGRAPHER and FRIEND.

Jeri Arstingstall, California

I was fortunate to have known Heidi for many years, it was I who was responsible for giving her the very first opportunity to speak to a group of photographers, I had no idea at the time what I had started! She will be missed by many.. her energy for photography was beyond belief, and was contagious. I will remember the wonderful times we shared together, for ever.

Jonathan Brooks, United Kingdom

Heidi extensively lectured for me in the UK, we where good friends and met up several times on our tours of the USA. We loved her greatly.

Phil and Juliet Jones, United Kingdom