Bernice Hecht, known to many as ‘Bea,’ died peacefully on February 22, 2018 at Oakley Place Assisted Living in Topeka after a brief illness. She was 97.
Born at the family farm in Wayside, KS on July 23, 1920, she was the fifth of six children born to Hubert Lee and Lillian Jones Horton.
Bea graduated from Wayside High School. She was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Kansas State University, earning her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration as well as her teaching certificate in 1941. She met and married Air Force Captain E Edward Hecht in Tucson, Arizona in 1950. As an Air Force wife, she traveled the world. But she remained a Kansas farm girl who always knew ‘there’s no place like home.’
The Hechts were stationed at numerous bases in the U.S. and overseas. Along the way, they added a son and two daughters to their family. Their last two posts before leaving government service were Saigon, Vietnam and Taipei, Taiwan.
In addition to her work as a wife and mother, Bea was a teacher and a secretary. After retiring to Topeka, she served as secretary to Kansas Speaker of the House Wendell Lady, then became Social Secretary and Chief of Protocol to Kansas First Lady Patti Hayden. She was an active member of Countryside United Methodist Church.
Bea’s husband preceded her in death, as did her siblings, Lucine Sheedy, Wilma Kurtis, Ruth Diver, Hubert Horton and Doris Horton; her nephew, Jack Horton and great nephew Scott Kurtis.
She is survived by her son Gregory Hecht of Chiang Mai, Thailand and her daughters Cynthia Hecht (David Lubeski) and Marcia Lowry, both of Topeka, plus grandchildren Steven Lowry, LeeAnne Lowry, Annalee Lubeski, Michael Lowry and Benjamin Lubeski. Other surviving relatives include nephew Bill Kurtis, nieces Jean Schodorf, Susan Veith, Kathy Schiefelbein, Ruth McKee and Doris Slane, and numerous great-nieces and nephews.
Please join family members for a visitation on Thursday from 5:00-7:00pm at Penwell-Gable Southwest Chapel.
Funeral services will be Friday, March 2nd at 2:00pm at Wayside Christian Church, Wayside, KS.
Memorials suggested to Wayside Christian Church, County Rd. 2100, Havana, KS 67347 or the Alzheimer’s Association, 3625 SW. 29th St. # 102, Topeka, KS 66614.
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