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Morris Hecker

July 20, 1922 -
March 3, 2019

Morris Littlefield Hecker, Jr., 96 1/2, a lifelong resident of Champaign, died peacefully in his home late Sunday evening, March 3rd.

A Celebration of Life Service will be at 1:30pm Tuesday, March 12, at First United Methodist Church, 210 West Church Street, Champaign. The Reverend Don Jackson along with Revere…read more

Morris Littlefield Hecker, Jr., 96 1/2, a lifelong resident of Champaign, died peacefully in his home late Sunday evening, March 3rd.

A Celebration of Life Service will be at 1:30pm Tuesday, March 12, at First United Methodist Church, 210 West Church Street, Champaign. The Reverend Don Jackson along with Reverend Leah Pogemiller will officiate. Morry’s family will greet friends after the service in the church’s Friendship Center. A private burial will be held at Mount Hope Cemetery on Wednesday, March 13. Morgan Memorial Home, Savoy, is handling the arrangements.

Morry was born in Burnham Hospital on July 20, 1922 to Morris L. ( of Morrison, IL) and Bess Stipes Hecker (of Champaign). Morry married Martha Zearing in 1950 and she preceded him in death in 2007.

Survivors include his two children and their families: John and Barbara Hecker of Champaign and their children, Meredith Garreau (Scott) and Joseph; Mary and Terry MacRae of Dallas, Texas, and their children Grace and Camille.

Morry was preceded in death by his parents and three siblings, John, Helen, and James.

Morry attended Champaign public schools and entered the University of Illinois in the fall of 1940. His college career was interrupted by World War II in 1942 when he enlisted in the Navy and was called to active duty in 1943. He attended Officer Training School at the University of Pennsylvania and also Midshipman School at Northwestern University’s Abbott Hall, Chicago Campus. He tested Higgins Boats on Lake Ponchartrain in New Orleans while awaiting deployment on a Landing Ship Tank (LST) which he boarded and served in the Pacific theatre and experienced a number of enemy bombings.

After the war, Morry finished his U of I education and graduated from Harvard University’s Business School with a MBA degree in 1948. He returned to Champaign to work with his cousin, Royal (Rooney) Stipes. Their partnership in Stipes Publishing has over the years brought other family members into the fold and continues today.

While working, Morry met and later married Martha Zearing of Princeton, IL, who was attending graduate school at the U of I. Their union lasted for almost 57 years until her death.

Besides his work at Stipes Publishing, Morris was a part of numerous church, civic, and community organizations.
Board of Director positions with:
1st United Methodist Church of Champaign, Champaign Rotary, Champaign Public Library, Champaign Chamber of Commerce, and The Salvation Army.
He was active in the alumni organization for his college fraternity, Delta Tau Delta. He was also a member of the following organizations: WILL TV Citizen Advisory Board, Krannert Marquee Council, U of I President’s Club and the Carle Foundation.

Morry was known for his quick wit, humor, and at times, sarcasm. He enjoyed traveling with Martha and his family. Summer vacation trips to Michigan’s shores were the mainstay in the early married years, then to other parts of the United States, Holy Lands, Western and Eastern Europe, South America, Africa, Greek Isles, Turkey, Great Britain and other vistas. He visited his childhood friend, Bob Simon, in France where Bob was a foreign correspondent for Time Magazine. In the summer of 1948, Morry and Bob had a European vacation before Morry’s career began.

In 2012, Morry and his children were grateful to go on an Honor Flight to Washington DC with other central Illinois Veterans. All three immensely enjoyed this truly wonderful American experience honoring ‘The Greatest Generation’.

Granddaughter Grace lived with him for 4 years and was often seen driving him to appointments, the grocery store, and out to dinner. Dining out was a great source of social activity in his latter years.

The camaraderie of his coffee circle in downtown Champaign, Rotary lunches, fishing trips with his son, grandson and Richard Schlecht and his sons to Booi’s in Minnesota and visiting grandchildren were other great pleasures. Krannert Performing Arts Center productions were another favorite of Morry’s along with his beloved University of Illinois ‘Fighting Illini’ season football and basketball games. He enjoyed word games, puzzles, bridge and in later years, Jeopardy and The Golden Girls…we will greatly miss his modest manner, dapper dress and stories…a true raconteur!

Memorials may be made to The Salvation Army Champaign, First United Methodist Church or to an organization of the donor’s choice.

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