The year started off on a very sad note for us at Cliniko. On January 29, we lost a dear friend and colleague, Bill Heller.
Bill was a kind, caring, and gentle soul, who was universally loved by everyone at Cliniko. He started at the company in 2017 as an operations engineer and had become a core part of the team. We’re a remote team and work entirely online, but Bill’s warmth and sweetness easily bridged the physical distance.
Bill and his wife Sharyn had come along together to one of our company get-togethers and those of us who’d seen them interact remember their incredible connectedness and the deep love they had for one another. We witnessed – and shared – Bill’s heartbreak when Sharyn passed away in June last year. I know I’m among family, he said about the Cliniko team after Sharyn’s passing. But we felt exactly the same way about him.
Outside of work, Bill loved travel, photography, cooking, and basset hounds. He was committed to his faith and an active member of both the Apostolic Faith Church and the Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Oregon. The whole Cliniko team is still hurting from the loss and missing him a lot. As part of our grieving, we wanted to share some of our fond memories about him and the indelible mark he left on the company. This is just one of the ways that we’re remembering and honouring our friend.
Bill’s work for Cliniko
Operations is something that can be hard to describe, but this is what Bill had to say about his role at Cliniko: “I’m one of the real oddballs on the team, keeping the servers going and tightening the bolts. We actually consider it a perfect day when no-one notices our work. Kind of odd, but that’s the way it is when you’re building infrastructure. It has to be rock solid since it’s the foundation that a lot of things depend on.” And we were grateful to have his keen eye to help keep everything working smoothly.
Matt, another member of the operations team, remembers both Bill’s constancy and his willingness to explore: “Bill was always there. If he didn't know the answer, he'd say ‘I don't know, but let's find out together’. He was always experimenting, seeing what was out there, and curious. He was an advocate for the security of our customers.”
There’s no doubt that Bill was passionate about security. He authored a very popular article on the Cliniko blog in 2020, voicing his concerns about the security of Zoom at the time. While Zoom has since addressed the issues that Bill raised, the article remains our most-read post. With an increasing number of people working from home in the early days of the pandemic, Bill also sat down with Cliniko founder Joel in April 2020 to chat about online security. The video remains up on the Cliniko blog – and is still worth a watch.
In addition to being a computer engineer, Bill was also a talented photographer who ran his own photography business on the side. He took incredibly vibrant snaps of nature, landscapes, and architecture – which you can see here. And at our most recent company get-together in November 2022, he could always be found with a camera in his hand.
Most of us at Cliniko counted Bill as a friend as well as a colleague. We’ve created a dedicated Slack channel in his memory, and it has been flooded with messages and remembrances – some of which you can read below.
These are a few of the things that the Cliniko team had to say about Bill. There’s no better way to convey the incredibly special person that Bill was than by sharing the fond memories so many people have of him.
A true light
“Bill was one of those rare people who had a special light about him. He was always radiant, smiling, and most importantly, he was always himself. His laugh was magically contagious, and the world really is a little less happy without him here with us.” – Jason
“Bill was such a light! I'll never forget his glow.” – Rachel
Bill left such a lasting impression on me. The level of loss we are all feeling speaks to just how wonderful a man he was: unassuming and blending into the background, capturing the candid shots, without realising he was the light in the room.” – Emma
“My life was better for having Bill in it. I already miss him.” – Joel
Generous with his time and knowledge
“He was warm, friendly, caring, welcoming, generous with his time when you had a question or just felt like a chat and he had an improbably high-pitched voice for a man of his age, that somehow just matched him perfectly.” – Matt Jeffers
“Bill was one of those approachable people that I felt you could go to for almost anything, anytime. For help with something work-related or for a general chat about his day, he very willingly gave and delved into it with passion. He was always spreading positivity despite him going through hard times.” – Joe
“He was unfailingly kind and generous with his considerable knowledge too – never troubled by answering questions no matter how busy he was.” – Amy
“Bill was so incredibly smart and talented. And he always explained things in such an accessible way. I never felt worried about asking him questions… he never made me feel stupid for asking anything, and I asked him a lot! He was one of those people who you could instantly find yourself in a deep conversation with. I was able to share some hard things I had been going through with him and he was just a really good friend to me.” – Gina
“Bill was such a genuinely great guy, always understanding and took the time to help you and never let you feel bad for not knowing something.” – Mateusz
“The big thing that sticks with me, was the last time I spent a bunch of time with Bill (at the meetup). He had so much time for my daughter, and Dot loved playing Pacman with him.” – Matt Jones
A joyful spirit with a zest for life
“Bill was an absolute joy of a human to be around.” – Hagen
“Such an infectious smile. It was impossible to spend time with him and not feel lifted up. Even when talking about sad things.” – Liora
“Bill was such a loving, joyful person that it was impossible not to fall in love with him. Damn, I'm going to miss him.” – Zac
“I told several friends about him after the meetup because he left such an impression as someone living life the way it’s meant to be lived, even through his grief. Incredibly sweet, generous, genuine, curious, adventurous, and full of tales.” – Anya
“Bill was one of the kindest and warmest people we have met.” – Lou
“I had so much fun meeting him and chatting at the last meetup. Some mornings I was tired, but chatting to Bill just gave me energy and happiness, some people are just special that way” – Fahad
“You could tell he looked for the joy in all moments. I know he lived a full life.” – Josh
“He was an amazing person and every conversation I had with him was a delight.” – Bira
“There was one epic night at the last meetup where we stayed up dancing until 5am. I was thinking about how special that night was, for many reasons, but mostly because I felt like after everything he'd been through, to just have a silly night with people who genuinely loved him, dancing and singing at the top of our lungs, would've really done him good. It certainly did me good.” – Katie
“He was a joy to be around, such an incredibly wonderful person. We only spent a couple of weeks with him, but he’s left such a mark!” – Fede
“Even in the short time I got to spend with him, his thirst for adventure, enthusiasm to learn and genuine love for those around him inspired me. He appreciated the beauty in everything, and we have hundreds of his incredible photos to prove that.” – Keira
We miss you, Bill. We’re lucky to have known you and you’ll always be remembered at Cliniko.