Obituary: Gay Lynn (Ellefson) Hecker

Nov. 1, 1955 – Oct. 8, 2019 

Gay Lynn Hecker, 63, of Waco, Texas, and Egg Harbor, died in the loving arms of her family Oct. 8, 2019.

She was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the daughter of Richard “Dick” and Barbara Lynn (Aaron) Ellefson. After graduating from Tremper High School in Kenosha in 1973, Gay earned her associate degree in conference reporting before going into Montessori training. She was certified by the Association of Montessori International as an instructor to teach the Montessori method worldwide and was internationally recognized. Gay’s heart and soul was in teaching children, and she was fortunate to educate students in Columbia, South Carolina; Green Bay, Wisconsin; and Venice, Florida, before having her own school, Montessori Children’s House, in Englewood, Florida. Gay also taught second grade at Venice Christian School in Venice, Florida, for two years.

She married Richard James Hecker at Bethel Evangelical Free Church on Washington Island on Oct. 6, 1984. Gay loved God with her whole heart. With her husband and her daughter, she had many missionary adventures after training with Youth with a Mission in 1990. They traveled to Mexico, Haiti, Romania and Kenya, touching the children of the world.

Gay loved life. She loved the perfection of a rose and saw the beauty in everything. She was known to all by her smile, her laugh and her deep love. Even those she knew only for a short while experienced her love and infectious smile. Though it seems her life was cut short, she repeatedly said the summer of 2019 was the best of her life. She was so free and lived life to the fullest, doing what she loved — traveling, shopping, “Jeeping” and spending time with her friends. Most importantly, she spent precious moments with her husband, daughter and brother.

Gay loved people and relationships. She was a devoted wife, mother and sister. She was also passionate about her close friends. In her life, God brought six women to walk by her side: Suzy Corby, Sheila Withrow, Judy DuCharme, Carrie Gusmer, Kim Elkinns and Suzette Yañez.

Gay’s joy will live on in the hearts of her loving husband of 35 years, Richard; daughter, Grace Hecker; brother, Tully (Liz) Ellefson; and several nieces, nephews and friends.

She was preceded in death by her daughter, Abby Jean; parents, Dick and Barbara Ellefson; and brother, Rick Ellefson.

A memorial service to honor Gay’s life will be celebrated at Door of Life Christian Church, where they are members, on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 11 am, with Pastor Ed House officiating. She will be laid to rest in the Washington Island Town Cemetery.

Visitation will be held at the church, 10-11 am.

Huehns Funeral Home and Door County Crematory have been entrusted with caring for the Hecker family. Expressions of sympathy, memories and photos of Gay can be shared through her tribute page at

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