Hit-and-run victim remembered as ‘kind man who truly loved science’

 Joseph T. Heard died after being struck by a bus near the Roundhouse on Tuesday morning. (Photos courtesy of Gtown Radio)

Joseph T. Heard died after being struck by a bus near the Roundhouse on Tuesday morning. (Photos courtesy of Gtown Radio)

When 46-year-old Joseph Heard died from injuries sustained in a Tuesday morning hit-and-run near the Roundhouse, folks at G-town Radio mourned the unexpected loss of a close friend.

Heard was the widely respected host of the Internet radio station’s weekly Science 2.0 “Science for the Rest of Us” program, and G-town Radio founder and station manager Jim Bear said he made quite an impression.

“He was a very sweet, kind man who truly loved science and wanted to share his enthusiasm with everyone, especially African American youth,” Bear said Wednesday. “He was adept at making complex concepts easy to understand and loved hip-hop which he made sure to play during show breaks.”

Bear recalled doing a special remote broadcast of Science 2.0 from last year’s Honey Festival at Wyck “dedicated to bees, honey and ecology.” Heard, he added, had an ability to connect with guests and listeners.

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“He was the only person ever in G-town Radio’s history, that I know of, to get Thank You notes in the mail from his guests,” Bear said of Heard, who also worked as a review specialist for the School District of Philadelphia.

A graduate of the Community College of Philadelphia and Syracuse University (where he studied Applied Mathematics), Heard also worked as a research assistant in the High Energy Laboratory of the Office of Science for the Department of Energy.

A tribute on Gtown Radio’s website offered more details of why Heard was so greatly appreciated.

He could take topics normally considered too complex or boring by most and make them completely relatable and exciting. He was passionate about science and thought everyone else should be too.

He was especially dedicated to igniting a spark in younger people for science. He saw too few people of color or from disadvantaged backgrounds in the sciences and he wanted to change that.

Joseph enjoyed doing his show and it was on display each week. He loved hip-hop and featured it during each break. He even had a hip-hop theme song made for the show.

His sister, Heather, was his original co-host and they had a great dynamic together on air. It was a good show. He was a good man.

According to Philadelphia Police, Heard was crossing Franklin Street near Race when he was struck and dragged about 50 feet by a bus bound for Washington D.C. around 9:45 a.m.

After the vehicle left the scene, Heard was rushed to Hahnemann University Hospital, where he was declared dead about a half hour later.

Since the collision was captured on video, investigators were able to identify the vehicle and, subsequently, the driver, who told them he didn’t realize he’d struck a pedestrian.

At a Wednesday afternoon press conference, Capt. John Wilczynski, commanding officer of Accident Investigation District, said the investigation is ongoing.

A “MAN Made Science” memorial gathering to remember Heard is scheduled for the night of Friday, Aug. 28 at Adrian’s Sports Bar and Grill, 5912 Germantown Ave.

According to the Facebook invitation for the event, “His kindness, brilliance & warmth was taken away from us too soon.” The gathering will offer a chance to “celebrate the life and times of Mr. Joseph Heard.”

This story was updated to reflect the fact that the memorial gathering will be held next Friday night.

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