EMIL “VAN” HECKE
Emil “Van” Hecke, 60, of Peculiar, MO, left this world too soon on February 16, 2020 only three short weeks after receiving a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Van was born on December 3, 1959, a gift to his parents Russ and Virginia (Mason) Hecke. He was the baby of their five children and grew up surrounded by a large and loving family.
Like most teenagers, Van was interested in sports, music and cars. After graduating from Rockhurst High School, he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice at UMKC and took a position working for the Missouri State Board of Probation and Parole in Poplar Bluff, MO - the same year that the Royals beat the Cardinals in the World Series. His first words walking into the office were “How About those Royals!” He soon learned he had relocated to Cardinal country.
Van had a way of befriending most everyone he met. His infectious laugh, loud persona and ready smile soon won over the hearts of most. It wasn’t long before he met Tina (Scaggs), the woman who would become his wife of nearly 33 years and bear his two sons, Matt and Mitch.
Van’s career took him from Poplar Bluff to Cape Girardeau and then to Farmington, MO. In 1995, Van took a position as a Federal Pretrial Services Officer in Seattle, Washington where he and his family would reside for the next six years. To be closer to extended family, Van, Tina, Matt and Mitch relocated back to the Kansas City area in 2001. There he worked until his retirement in 2016 at the Kansas City Office of the Federal Board of Probation and Parole.
As Matt and Mitch grew, Van helped coach Little League teams and attended every baseball, wrestling and football function that he could. He also shared his love for music with them. He also loved the game of golf and played with family and friends.
He was predeceased in death by both his parents and his brother Russell “Rusty” Van Hecke. He is survived by his wife, Tina; his son, Matt and wife Abby, who are to be parents themselves in August 2020; and by his son, Mitch. He is also survived by two sisters, Helen Jean Van Hecke and Kris (Ken) Woddail; his brother Pat (Teri) Van Hecke, two step-sisters, Cheryl (Chris) Bolin, Monica (Kirk) Waisner, two step-brothers, Bob (Jan) Waters and Tim (Trish) Waters, and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
This world is a better place for having Van in it. He will be missed and remembered lovingly by so very many. We can’t help but wonder if his first words in Heaven were “How About those Chiefs!”
Services for Van will be held Friday, February 28, at St. Sabina Catholic Church in Belton, MO. Visitation begins at 10:00 followed by Mass at 11:00. In lieu of flowers, donations to Kansas City Hospice House in Van’s name would be appreciated.