German natives Deiter Hein and his wife had been living in Diamondhead just a few months before Hurricane Katrina brought its wrath to South Mississippi on Aug. 29. The Heins had moved from hurricane-prone Florida, hoping to escape the damage and destruction the storms carried.
According to Dieter Hein's daughter, Jackie Hein Watson, Hein was an honest, virtuous man "who would give you the shirt off his back."
A retired railroad worker, Hein spent most of his leisure time playing tennis and golf. He also enjoyed hiking and traveling, and even played soccer on a team in Salt Lake City.
During his years in Florida, Hein would often extend his services to neighbors who had suffered damage during any of the state's fiercest storms. From gutting the interior of flooded houses to roof work, Hein could be counted on to help those who needed it.
"That man worked his a-- off," Watson said. "He could put a 30-year-old to shame at the age of 60."
It was that hard-working spirit and integrity that made Hein well liked by almost all who knew him.
"Everybody loved my parents," Watson said. "If he had made it through this, I know he would have been helping everyone else down there."