Fern Evelyn Heck grew up mainly in Merrill, the first child of Wesley and Mabel (Carsentsen) Hamilton which later included precious sister Joyce and brother Bill, whom she adored. She enjoyed a large close knit family surrounded by her special cousins, aunts and uncles.
In 1947, she was voted Merrill Ag Days Gladiolas Queen, an honor she treasured forever. Her future husband, a "Sioux City Boy," saw her that day in the Sioux City Journal and a mutual friend introduced them. She later told her great-grandchildren her heart "did a flip" when she first saw him. She was forever his queen. Fern and Gene Heck were married Nov. 17, 1950, at St. John's Lutheran Church in Merrill. Prankster cousins wrote on their honeymoon car "Fern went to Heck."
They were parents to six children, raising them all in Leeds. She was a proud mother who enjoyed caring for her family. She taught Girl and Boy Scouts, and was a member of PTA at Hawthorne School.
Her church, Calvary Lutheran, was very special to her and she taught Sunday School, was Bible School Chairman and held offices in Ladies' Aid.
She enjoyed celebrating her Valentine Birthday each year. After her children went to school she became a lunch lady at North High School.
Gene's job change moved their empty nest to Vermillion, S.D., where they both made many friends. They moved to Le Mars, in their retirement years to be close to family.
She and "Rooster" enjoyed leisure time and loving their grandchildren. Their family eventually grew to include four special daughter-in-laws, one great son-in-law, 32 grandchildren and 30 two great-grandchildren, with three more coming soon.
Gene died Dec. 17, 2005, after she provided his care as Alzheimer's ravaged his mind.
Fern moved to Prime Assisted Living where she became the new unofficial resident greeter. She truly loved living there and workers adored her and she them. She was still very social shopping, going to garage sales, having card parties and supper with her dear cousins. You could many times find her spending the day shopping with daughter Lynne, granddaughter Marcy and great-granddaughter Ellie, four generations. She shared a very special bond with her dear brother-in-law Vernon and they enjoyed many good times going out to eat, playing cards and visiting. She won her final game of cards with him on Sunday, one week before her death. We can see her smiling that she won her final game.
She became ill on Wednesday, April 25 and family soon realized death was near. She accepted the news joyously planning her final trip with excitement. Her faith and trust in the Lord was an inspiration to all. She happily followed "His" plan for her. She is dancing with her prince at the pearly gates.
Left to cherish fond memories are brother-in-law, Vernon Heck of Anthon; sister Joyce Hutton of Windsor, Colo.; brother and sister-in-law Bill and Mary Hamilton of Sioux Falls, S.D.; sister-in-law Ilene Cooper of Portland, Ore.; her son, Thomas and Debbie Heck of Sioux City, and their family, Corey and Beth Heck, Emily and Asher, Stacey and Matt Hatterman, Andrew and Madison; her son, Terry and Rochelle Heck of Climbing Hill, and their family, Jennifer and Brett Beach, Bailey and Brooklyn, Matthew and Tracy Heck, Alyson and Mason; her daughter, Lynne and Martin Pippett of Merrill, and their family, Marcy and Ira Wall, Ellie, and soon to be baby W, Marty and Maria Pippett, Maddilyn, Makenzie and Mason, Christopher Pippett and Stacey Mullally, Kaynan Jara, Gavin, Keegan and Jeep Pippett, Patricia, CJ and Annie Zertuche, Craig and Collette Pippett and Daisy, Michael Pippett and Sara Morrow, Hannah, Wyatt, and Charlie Pippett and Natalie Waldman; her son Timothy and Brenda Heck of Sioux City, and their family Jason Heck, Ryan Heck and Jessica Dailey and Riley, Wesley, Molly, Sara and Nick Jones, soon to be baby J; her son Todd and Lisa Heck of Greenville, and their family Tyler and Jaclyn, soon to be baby H; her daughter Loriann Nelson and her special friend Gene Schoenherr of Le Mars, and her family, Mariah and Trent Brown and Maxwell, Capriah Nelson and Kurt Hoss and Easton, Nicholas Nelson and Jaylee Hurst and Noah Nelson-Hutchinson.
Meeting her at the gates of Heaven were Gene, her husband of 55 years; her parents, Wesley and Mabel Hamilton; her mother-and father-in-law, Grant and Mable Heck; sisters-in-law Viola Heck and Vera Heck; brothers-in-law Marlin Hutton and Jerry Cooper; and her favorite aunt Cele. Most importantly her Lord and Savior was there to hold her hand.
Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at Grace Lutheran Church in Le Mars. The Rev. Timothy Geitz will officiate. Burial will follow at Hillside Cemetery in Merrill. Visitation will begin at 2 p.m. today (Tuesday) at the Mauer - Johnson Funeral Home in Le Mars. The family will be present from 5-8 p.m. with a prayer service at 6:30 p.m. There will also be one hour of visitation at the church prior to the funeral service on Wednesday.
This world has said goodbye to a great woman but Heaven accepts her with open arms.
Expressions of sympathy may be directed through www.mauerjohnsonfh.com.