In Memoriam

In Memoriam: Terry Heaps

April 10, 2017

Dr Terrence Heaps passed away on April 3, 2017 at the age of 75. Terry was a memorable Professor who changed the lives of SFU graduates. His research in natural resources economics added to the foundation of knowledge that many researchers use today.  

In 1967 he completed his first PhD in Mathematics at the University of California, Berkley. Terry taught as a Lecturer at the University of Manchester. Soon after, he flew down to Tanzania and taught at the University College Dar es Salaam. Almost ten years later, Terry completed a Master of Arts, Economics at Simon Fraser University.  Terry decided to pursue a second PhD at the University of British Columbia in economics. In 1979, Terry joined the Department of Economics at Simon Fraser University as a faculty member.

Terry’s research was inspiration by our environment. His research focused on how the natural life cycle of a forest can inform our forestry practices. Terry investigated when was the optimal age to log a forest in his best known work, "The forestry maximum principle" published in the Journal of Economics Dynamic and Control in 1984.   In order to understand when would be the best time to log a forest, he looked at the Faustmann model in the context of the generalized forestry management problem. In 2015, he revisited this topic in “Convergence of optimal policies to a normal forest” and he advocated that logging policies should follow the natural life cycle of a forest, rather than the usual harvesting cycle as this will have greater net benefits.

From 1994 to 1999, Terry was the Director of the Institute of Fisheries Analysis (IFA). The Institute was founded in 1980 by Professor Parzival Copes, a member of the Department of Economics. This interdisciplinary centre was created to promote the study and research on fisheries. Topics included biology, ecology, and population dynamics of exploitable fish stocks, the socio-economic well-being of fishing communities, and the political economy of the fishing industry. Although the IFA was dissolved in 2001, the SFU Centre for Coastal Studies continues this research with a broader scope.

During his academic career, he has supervised dozens of PhD and MA students. Even after his retirement in 2006, Terry continued to teach undergraduate and graduate students.

John Chant remembers the mark that Terry left on his students.  “In my time as chair, I heard more favorable comments about Terry's teaching than any other colleague - in fact more than all his colleagues combined. His deep knowledge of math allowed him to keep his graduate math economics course simple while preserving the essence.”

Many of Terry’s past students remember his kindness. In the summer of 2011, the graduating MA class took this photo with Terry during their last class together in Environmental Economics. One student remembers, “Terry was a very patient professor, extremely patient with students' questions. His class wasn’t just about economics, but also filled with industry knowledge.”