Mary Ann Hechimovich, 67

Mary Ann Hechimovich, 67, passed away unexpectedly Friday, March 9, while vacationing in Fort Myers, Fla.

Mary was born in Theresa, on May 31, 1944, to Leonard and Olive (nee Weber) Steger. At the age of 14, she met her lifelong love and best friend, Tom Hechimovich, when they were classmates at Mayville High School. This began a beautiful romance, which spanned the next 53 years; produced a wonderful family; and deeply touched all who had the great fortune to know them.

Mary and Tom were married on Oct. 3, 1964, at St. Theresa Catholic Church in Theresa. In 1967, Mary and Tom moved to Hartford with their young daughter, Lisa, in tow. Here they built their family and a second daughter, Joy, arrived a few years later. Mary and Tom proved a successful team in many ways. Together they created a business from the ground up. Based on a reputation for integrity, straight talk, and deep loyalty to customers and employees, Hechimovich Machining flourished and continues operations 33 years later.

In 2004, Mary and Tom moved to Fond du Lac on the shores of Lake Winnebago. As planned, the lake house became a gathering place for family, friends and strangers alike. Mary had a special way with people making even a stranger feel welcome. Whether jet skiing and boating in the summer, watching the sunset and sitting around the campfire in the evenings, or snowmobiling in winter, Mary shared her love of the lake with all who visited.

More than any other, Mary cherished her role as grandma to her five beloved grandchildren. As her family grew, Mary spent every available moment with them, watching their sports and school performances, playing catch and reading to them for hours on end. Each of her grandchildren spent countless hours on the snowmobile in front of Grandma and on the snow and ice and in and around the lake.

Of all the lasting impressions that Mary leaves, perhaps, the most enduring will be the memory of her love for her husband, Tom. After 47 years of marriage they could still light up a dance floor with the two step or the Polish hop. They often held hands and managed a quick kiss on the cheek. Their loving, equal and respectful relationship will serve as the vision of what love should be for their children, grandchildren and all who knew them.

Mary’s final weeks were spent with Tom and their close friends on vacation in Florida. She spent her final day with Joy and youngest grandchild, Ian, who were visiting. She looked forward to a visit from Lisa the following week. Her last day was much as she would have chosen, playing the roles of wife, mother, and grandma and she cherished every breath of it. This is how we will remember her, happy and loving life.

Mary is survived by her husband, Tom; a sister Margaret (Robert) Giese; two daughters, Lisa (Frank) Pagura and Joy (Chris) Donohoe; and five grandchildren, Elizabeth, Alex, Tommy, Molly and Ian. She is further survived by many nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and dear friends.

Her parents, Leonard and Olive Steger; two brothers, Ray and Paul; and a sister in-law, Elaine, precede Mary in death.

A celebration of Mary’s life will be held Saturday, March 17, at St. Kilian Church, 264 W. State St., Hartford. We will welcome family and friends for the Visitation from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Mass will be held at 1 p.m. Following the ceremony, all are invited to join us for lunch in the school cafeteria.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, http://www.themmrf.org/. Mary would be happy to know that her memory will support finding a cure for the disease that took her beloved dad and brother, Paul, at a very young age.

The Shimon Funeral home is assisting the family; (262) 673-9500 or www.shimonfuneralhome.com.