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Bothell native DeHart dies in boating accident
Bothell native Heather DeHart, 38, died Sept. 27 in a boating accident on Lake Washington.
The class of 1985 Inglemoor High graduate was on a sailboat anchored near Seward Park when a motorboat plowed over the vessel’s stern and killed her.
Witnesses said the powerboat, piloted by a 17-year-old male, appeared to be moving too fast when the incident occurred around 8:45 p.m.
A Seattle Police Harbor Patrol boat responded to the accident and the crew performed CPR on DeHart, according to Seattle Police spokesman Officer Mark Jamieson. The King County Medical Examiner’s Office indicated that she suffered skull fractures and severe brain lacerations from the incident.
The 17-year-old, his 16-year-old passenger and a 45-year-old man aboard the sailing vessel sustained non-life-threatening injuries in the accident, according to police.
It was unclear whether the teen driver had obtained the Boating Safety Education Card required by state law for anyone between the ages of 12 and 20 who is operating a motorboat with at least 15 horsepower.
DeHart, who lived in Redmond, had been an orchestra teacher at Tyee Middle School in Bellevue since 2003.
“As you can imagine, the school and greater community were devastated to learn that the victim in the boating accident on Lake Washington was a beloved Tyee music teacher,” Tyee Principal Judy Buckmaster said in a statement.
Buckmaster began serving as the head of Tyee this school year.
“I’ve learned so much about her in the last 48 hours, and as the e-mails, calls and letters pour in, it is evident that she had a personality that was ‘large, enthusiastic, energetic, positive and student-centered,’” she said.
Former Tyee Principal Jerry Schaefer also released a statement about DeHart.
“From the standpoint of the student and parent community, she did so much to promote orchestra at elementary, middle and high-school levels,” he said. “That takes a lot of hard work, and more work than was ever expected of her. It will be tough to find someone with her enthusiasm and energy. She was one-of-a-kind.”
Former Newport High Assistant Principal Joseph Kempisty taught DeHart’s classes in her absence, and numerous counselors have been available for grieving students, according to Bellevue School District spokeswoman Ann Oxrieder.
DeHart earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Central Washington University.
She taught in the Puyallup and Federal Way school districts before working at Tyee, where she organized music festivals, talent shows and a fiddle group that performed at the Northwest Folk Life Festival, according to her obituary.
DeHart is survived by her parents, Ron and Cathy DeHart of Bothell; brother, Scott DeHart, and niece, Sophia of Kirkland; and sister, Holly Koudougnon, and nephew, Zachary, of Mill Creek.
Services were held Oct. 4 at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Bothell.
Remembrances can be made to the Heather DeHart Fund through the Bellevue Schools Foundation Music Endowment (12111 N.E. First St. No. 320, Bellevue, WA 98005), or online at www.bsfdn.org. Checks should be payable to the Bellevue Schools Foundation.
The Music Department of Central Washington University has also established a student scholarship in DeHart’s name.