Biographical information about Wally from his nephew, George Heider


I’m his nephew.  Otto W. Heider Sr. had two sons: Wally Heider and Otto W. Heider Jr.  Otto Jr. is my father.  I was born in 1951; I remember seeing Wally as a kid.

1. Wally was born May 20, 1922.  His father, Otto W. Heider Sr, was the town lawyer in Sheridan, Oregon.  Otto came from a poor first generation German family (his father was a shoemaker from Bavaria with about nine children from two marriages) and put himself through law school at the University of Oregon as a starving student.  Otto worshiped financial success, and wanted Wally to join his Sheridan law practice.  My father, Otto W. Heider Jr, was born in 1925.  Wally and Otto Jr. did not like each other much, particularly in their later years.

2. Wally graduated from Sheridan High School just prior to World War II, probably 1940.  He attended U of O for a couple of years prior to the War.  I’ve seen pictures of Wally in an army uniform; I suspect he enlisted.  I don’t think he saw combat.

3. Wally graduated from U of O in 1946 or 1947.

4. He passed the Oregon Bar in 1955, and joined Otto Sr. in the Sheridan law practice.  Sheridan is a small town, probably 1400 people at the time, and Wally hated the practice of law, probably also working with his father, who was a bit of the teutonic German father.

5. In a huge family mess, Wally left the Sheridan law practice and moved to LA in late summer of 1959.  Otto W. Heider Sr. owned the building that housed the law firm; last I checked, the windows were still painted “Otto W. Heider & Son”. Otto Sr. wouldn’t speak of Wally for years.

6. Once Wally was successful and written up in Esquire magazine, Otto Sr. was proud of him and happy to speak about him.

7. After Wally left the recording business, he started a “Hindsight Records” company, with, I believe, the goal of releasing previously unreleased recordings.  He had huge rows of vinyl records stored at Otto Sr’s house in Sheridan.  Wally had moved to Portland by then.

7. Wally died in March 1989 of brain cancer.  He is buried in the Heider family plot in Sheridan, Oregon.

Hope that helps fill in the cracks!

Cheers, George

One thought on “Biographical information about Wally from his nephew, George Heider”

  1. Wally was also famous (infamous) for making copies of all the dates
    he did and saving them. In my apprenticship, I made tons of copies
    of all Wally’s recordings, including one, which I wished I’d saved,
    of Wally being tape op on a Sinatra/Nelson Riddle date. Wally’s voice was unmistakable as he intoned,” take three, insert five”.

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