Richard (“Rich”) Heckman, (59), of Topeka, Kansas passed away peacefully at St. Francis Hospital in Topeka, Kansas, following lung complications on November 5th, 2023, with his family lovingly by his side. Rich was a witty, thoughtful soul and will be deeply missed by his family and dear friends.
He was born February 27th, 1964, in Salina, Kansas to Edwin (“Sonny”) and Marilyn Heckman, where he lived until he was four years old, when the family moved to Topeka. There, Rich lived a full life with many nearby aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.
The family spent summers boating and camping at local lakes. Rich enjoyed spending time at his grandparent’s farm in Russell, Kansas, where he would help with chores and play with the animals.
In grade school, he began playing the trumpet and other instruments. Rich and his friends enjoyed playing backyard football, riding bikes, and listening to music.
Growing up, he enjoyed going to annual family reunions, talking, laughing, and getting into trouble with his cousins.
Rich graduated from Topeka West High School in 1982. Following high school, Rich began working full-time as a welder, fabricating custom wrought iron for Met-Con Products Company, where he began as a “shop boy” at the young age of nine. There, he continued to work for the next 50 years, right up to the week preceding his passing. Rich’s legacy will live on through the many works he created and through the lasting relationships he had with the many colleagues and clients he worked with throughout the years.
Rich was an avid sports fan, watching or attending football and basketball games, cheering on the KU Jayhawks and KC Chiefs. He was also a big NASCAR and Indy Car fan, travelling to many races, including Daytona, Charolette, and Indianapolis.
For many years, Rich worked alongside his dad, restoring the family’s 1951 Chevrolet pickup, and later a 1946 Chevy truck. After his father’s passing, he and his mother continued to show the award-winning trucks at numerous car shows.
Rich was truly talented at grilling and smoking meats, as his family and friends could all happily attest to following an evening at the house. He also liked travelling and spending time with his close friends and cousins, as well as spending holidays and special occasions with his niece and nephew.
Rich is survived by his mother and a sister Lora (Jim) Utech of Topeka, Kansas, and their two children Emily (James) Caro of Buffalo, Wyoming and Drew Utech of Topeka, Kansas, as well as numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins. He was preceded in death by his father and grandparents.
Rich had an enormous heart and a wonderful sense of humor. He was generous, loyal, welcoming, and a friend to all. He will be remembered for all he shared with his family and friends. He truly loved each of them. He will be missed dearly.
Visitation will be held 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Friday, November 10, 2023, at Penwell-Gabel Mid-Town Chapel, 1321 S.W. 10th Ave, Topeka, Kansas 66604. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 11, 2023, at Penwell-Gabel Mid-Town Chapel, 1321 SW 10th Street, Topeka, Kansas, 66604. Interment will follow at Memorial Park Cemetery. In true Rich fashion, casual dress and Jayhawks or Chiefs apparel is encouraged and welcomed.
Memorial contributions can be made to Trinity Lutheran Church, 725 SW Buchanan Street, Topeka, Kansas, 66606 or Midland Care, 200 SW Frazier Circle, Topeka, Kansas, 66606.
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