VIROQUA — Our beloved matriarch, Lois M. Heck, passed away peacefully at the Bland Bekkedal Center for Hospice Care in Viroqua, Tuesday, May 28, 2019. Lois was 98.
She was born in Chicago, Nov. 4, 1920, to parents, Irvin J. and Martha (nee Koch) Bernhardt. Lois was a child of the depression, who lost her father to illness when she was 15 years old. As a young woman she was a member of Job’s Daughters and a 1938 graduate of Carl Schurz High School. On June 24, 1939, she married Kenneth L. Heck in McHenry, Ill. Following the marriage they made their home in Des Plaines, Ill.
During World War II she was employed in the payroll department of Montgomery Ward in Chicago. Later she successfully transitioned from the big city to rural, small town Viroqua. After the war she helped out at the Heck family’s Dach Ridge farm prior to permanently moving into town. She was a stay at home mother to three children, before taking a job as bookkeeper for Viroqua Area Schools in 1962. She held that job until retirement in 1983.
Besides being a hard worker and caring wife and mother, Lois was many other things. She was a cancer survivor with a great sense of humor. She was an avid golfer, who usually played nine holes with her friend, Ag Schroeder, before starting work at the school. Plus she participated in and won several events at the Viroqua Country Club. For many years she decorated hundreds of ceramic items, which she signed with the nickname “Sophie.” She held life memberships in both the VFW and Legion auxiliaries. She was a Girl Scout leader and also taught Sunday school at the Church of Christ. For several years she and Kenneth were active members of an investment group called the Jack Club. Her generosity was boundless, with gifts to her family members as well as numerous charities. She was an enthusiastic bridge player who also enjoyed Sunday afternoon 500 games, as well as jigsaw puzzles and Free Cell on her computer.
Lois was preceded in death by her husband, Kenneth, March 19, 2005; her parents; her in-laws, John and Julia Heck; her brothers and sisters-in-law, Herbert and Viola Bernhardt and George and Olga Bernhardt; a nephew, Richard Bernhardt; sisters-in-law and their husbands, Leone and Jack Calef and Hilda and Theon “Shorty” Keller.
She is survived by her children, Martha (Richard) Nawratil, Monona, Wis., Julie Malone, Viroqua and John (Phyllis) Heck, Onalaska. She is further survived by five granddaughters, Amy (Loren) Benner, Mount Joy, Pa., Sarah Heck, Anchorage, Alaska, Leah (Daniel) Hillebrand, Stoddard, Kristen (Amar) Nikhanj, Milwaukee and Stephanie Malone, Holmen; nine great-grandchildren, Britany, Victoria, Zachary and Kyla Benner, Kenden Bishofsky, Rylan and Gideon Hillebrand, Reena and Zara Nikhanj; a niece, Carole (Colin) Colangelo, of McHenry; and a nephew, John (Barb) Keller, Rolla, Mo.
There will be a visitation from noon until the time of service at 1 p.m. June 15, at the Viroqua Church of Christ, 825 Nelson Parkway. Pastor Andrew Pratt will officiate. Burial will be at the Liberty Pole Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials should be directed to the Vernon County Historical Museum, Bland Bekkedal Hospice Care Center or the Church of Christ.
On-line condolences may be offered at www.vossfh.com. The Vosseteig-Larson Funeral Home, 123 W. Decker (Hwy 56 W) in Viroqua is serving the family. (608) 637-2100.