Who We Are
Board of Directors
Fran and Gary Heiser, Founders
Fran and Gary Heiser, Parents of Michael Heiser, were co-founders of the Michael Heiser Foundation in 2000. Fran and Gary were the spark plugs who lead the way in getting recognition for the 19 Heros of the Khobar Towers bombing assassinations. After Gary passed away in 2008, Fran kept up the effort and finally prevailed in her battle for recognition and closure for the victims of terrorism. She is the retired owner of a successful real estate company in Palm Coast, Florida.
They chose as their directors those who were and are successful in their careers and who also were civic minded and have witnessed tragedy in their own lives.
Gary Heiser was born March 22, 1937, and grew up in Reading, Pa. A few days after graduation, he was sworn into the U.S. Army by his father who was a U.S. Army recruiter. His 22 years of active service were mostly with the Army Security Agency, a job that made him proud and took him to many places around the world, Korea, Japan, two tours in Vietnam, and Augsburg and West Berlin, Germany. After acquiring the rank of E-9 Sergeant Major he retired from his military career in 1977. Soon after the first retirement the family moved to Palm Coast, Fla., to enjoy a new life. As young people in a young community, they felt like pioneers at times and opened what was to become a very successful real estate business. During these years Gary belonged to many organizations, was the head of Palm Coast Toys for Tots for 14 years, National Association of Realtors, NRA, Elks, Flagler Coin and Stamp Club, president of the local chapter of the Good Sams, PC Traveling Sams social travel club, men’s golf groups, and was first president of the PC Men’s Bowling Assn. Back in 1986 after wildfires destroyed 131 homes, he jumped right in to become a lieutenant with the Fire Police and wrote the first evacuation plan to be used for any future disasters. He was an above average golfer, member of DAV, and just an all-around good person who enjoyed life and gave much of himself to others. In 1996 when tragedy struck their only child, Mike, life changed drastically and the business that once dominated their lives was sold to open new doors to a new chapter. As a collector of several things, Gary had many hobbies and enjoyed people the most. Travel was on the agenda but only short trips as he can be heard saying, “no matter where we go, I always like my home the best.” Gary suffered heart related problems for several years but there was new hope for him, but on January 18, 2008, many bright lights were dimmed. He is survived by his wife of almost 40 years, Fran. He and Fran were constant companions and shared every aspect of their lives, true best friends and soul mates. His parents passed away when he was very young and his son predeceased him when killed by terrorists at Khobar Towers.
Frances Maria (Neri) Heiser, 76, of Palm Coast, FL, lost her battle to cancer, which she had fought for many years. She passed away peacefully at Stuart Meyer Hospice House, on Wednesday, April 25, 2018. Fran was born on December 23, 1941. Growing up in Ocean, New Jersey, and traveling overseas with the military, she moved to Palm Coast with her husband Gary in 1978 where they established and successfully flourished Coldwell Banker-Heiser Realty, until their retirement. Fran has been and will continue, through the Heiser Foundation, to support and fight for the rights of surviving service member’s families, as Fran’s only son, Mike, was tragically killed in the Khobar Towers terrorist bombing on June 25, 1996. Fran was successful, through an ongoing battle, to hold Iran responsible for this terrorist attack. This helped her with the pain and sorrow no parent should endure, as Fran felt she would die of a broken heart. Fran was preceded in death by her parents John and Marie Sullivan; husband, Gary, of 38 years, and her only child Mike. Fran also leaves behind many dear extended family members and friends and missed by all. Fran was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA, alongside Mike and Gary.