Gary F. Heckel, age 68, of Maplewood, MN, formerly of Hudson and Hammond, passed away on December 16, 2012 surrounded by his family at his home in Maplewood.
Gary was born on December 31, 1943 to Vernon and Bernice (Brewer) Heckel in Hudson, WI. He graduated from Hudson High School in 1962, and lived most of his life here in Hudson. Following his graduation, he began working at 3M, where he was in decorative product sales. He sold to many major car companies, mostly with Ford, the decorative car striping that 3M manufactured. Later, he began testing new aerospace products, a position which he retired from after 33 years in 2001.
On November 4, 1989, he was united in marriage to Janice Anderson in Hudson, WI at Trinity Lutheran Church, in which they just celebrated their 23rd wedding anniversary. After spending 11 years together in Hammond, they decided to move to Maplewood, MN to be closer to their children.
Gary had many interests. He loved spending time with his, and Jan’s children. He enjoyed camping in Clear Lake, WI, hunting, and taking fishing trips to Canada. He also took a few canoe trips with his church to the Boundary Waters. Gary was also on the Hudson Fire Department for many years.
Golfing was a big part of his life. He belonged to Hudson Country Club, and when he married Jan, he loved patiently teaching her the sport. His passion never wained, even through his physical limitations. When they moved to Maplewood, he loved researching new courses in the metro area to play a round on.
Aside from golfing, he had a fantastic memory for cars. He not only could name the make and year of most older cars, but he loved to spend time cruising through the new car lots, and taking long road trips with Jan.
He also loved to cook, a talent which ran in his family, and he always enjoyed trying new recipes. He loved making homemade bread from scratch. Being a picky eater himself, he made it a point that if his food wasn’t up to par, he would start over! He loved chinese food, and could be frequently found at his favorite restaurant, Khan’s Mongolian Bar-B-Q in Roseville, MN.
Gary loved to travel. Gary and Jan took several trips to Arkansas to visit friends, spent the last 8 winters in Yuma, AZ with Gary’s sister, Bonnie, took a trip to Graceland because of Jan’s love of Elvis, and took a dream vacation to Hawaii. Gary loved being on the open road as he loved to listen to Bob Seger and Elvis’s spiritual music.
Gary was also a dog lover, and enjoyed feeding his lhasa apso, Muffin, Honey Nut Cheerios and Munster cheese!
Gary is survived by his wife, Janice (Reese Anderson) Heckel; daughter, Jodi Heckel and her good friend, Dawn Malecha; son, Jeffrey (Lisa Larock) Heckel; step-sons, Gregg (Pam) Anderson and Gary (Jen) Anderson; grandchildren, Lindsey, Nicole, Gary, Danielle, Justin, Carl, and Lily; several great-grandchildren; and sister, Bonnie Graham. Preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Betty Zeuli and Charlotte Dahl; and brother, Frank Heckel.
A memorial service for Gary will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, December 19 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Hammond, WI.
The Heckel family would like to send a special thank you to Lakeview Hospice for their genuine support and care throughout the past few months, Kim Dahlgren for her love and dedication, and Mack and Elizabeth Kamm and their family for all they have done to help.