Terry Rae Hansen Hecker passed away unexpectedly of complications from Alzheimer’s in Oceanside, CA on August 30, 2023.
She was born on July 6, 1943 in Mitchell, SD to Durwood R. and Viva Watts Hansen. She grew up on a farm east of Leeds; went to Concord #2 country school through 7th Grade before going to Lawton Consolidated where she graduated in 1961 as Salutatorian of her class.
She went to Augustana College in Sioux Falls where she met and married J. Fred Hecker in 1963 and followed him through his Air Force career from Texas, to northern California, Upper Michigan, Ohio, Washington, D.C. ending in San Diego, CA. Along the way she attended colleges; raised their two children, Mason F. Hecker and Casey Rae Hecker Franklin; and hauled her beloved horses and dogs everywhere they went. Her passion for horses started at an early age. She was known locally for winning ribbons at the Woodbury County Fair with her blind Palomino, Sheba, and showing her 4-H lambs and heifers. While living in California, she rode her favorite Arabian, Alizan, winning 50 and 100 mile Endurance Races from Palisades Tahoe (Truckee) to Auburn. She lived in Lakeside, CA for many years.
She earned her BA in sculpture from San Diego State at age 55. She was a renowned artist known across the country for her drawings, watercolors and sculptures. When her mother was at Sunrise with Alzheimer’s in the 90s, Terry continued her painting and each year, she donated a painting to the Memory Walk, becoming a dear friend to many in that community. She had exhibits not only in northern and southern California, Lexington, Kentucky, and Madison, Georgia but also in Sioux City, Dakota Dunes, Sioux Falls, and Rapid City.
She is survived by Mason (Julie), Casey (Ty), her grandchildren: Jack, Drew, and Madeliene Hecker, and Brice Franklin; her sister, Leslie Howard and brother in-law Jack, niece, Dina (Mike) Dlouhy, nephews Mark (Laura) Potts and Jason (Mila) Howard; brother-in-law Frank Hecker, and cousins Bill and Bob (Joan) Brandon.
She was preceded in death by her husband, J. Fred Hecker, her parents and her in-laws, her sister-in-law, Donna Hecker Shearer, her aunt Wilma Tevis and her beloved grandmother Hilda Hansen.
Memorials can be directed to the Alzheimer’s Association.