A photo of Richard Joseph Hecht

Richard Joseph Hecht

April 22, 1930 - September 3, 2021

Richard Joseph Hecht, 91, from Newark, Delaware, formerly of Slidell, LA, passed away peacefully at Season’s Hospice on September 3, 2021, surrounded by family.

Richard had a mobile life. He grew up in rural Wisconsin as a farm boy, and one of 5 children. He had his early education in a one-room schoolhouse while surviving “the bitter cold and snowy winters”. He made his way through seminary high school followed by a short stint in the Air Force due to an unfortunate knee injury. He was the ultimate self-taught man, before the age of “You Tube” how to’s he could read his way through a manual and fix just about anything. He utilized these reading skills well while in college, and graduated with a BS in Geology from the University of Wisconsin in 1954. He married Betty Lottes a week later on Jan 30th on a snowy day in Madison. The young couple decided to get away from the cold, so he took a job with ESSO in Tupelo, Mississippi. The first of eight children was born in October of that year. He moved his family to Boston, where he was employed by the U.S. Geological Survey, and spent time out on Drift Station Alpha while avoiding the polar bears.  They went on to Connecticut where he continued as a government scientist. Richard always loved camping, canoeing and gardening, and shared this with his family his entire life.

In 1962 he joined in the opening of the ultra-modern Underwater Sound Lab as an Oceanic Geophysical Surveyor for NOAA. He was part of the elite group of scientists and mathematicians to work on the new room-sized computers back in the early sixties. His job would often necessitate leaving his family for 1-2 month work trips out on the big Navy ships and Subs in the Arctic Ocean. Richard joined the Toastmasters early on to advance his career, and in the early sixties was elected President of the New London Toastmasters Club.

He moved into the private sector when he took a job at Underwater Systems in 1965 and moved his family to Colesville, Maryland. By 1967 he and Betty had their eighth and final child. Raising a large catholic family may have sometimes been a struggle, but they embraced the life with love and a shared workload.

In 1981 with just three children left at home he moved his family to Slidell, Louisiana to again work for the US Naval Oceanographic Office at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. They embraced their new Southern lifestyle, enjoying the warm weather and wonderful cuisine of the South. As they became empty nesters they continued with their hobbies of square dancing, camping and driving around the country seeing their children and grandchildren. Upon full retirement from the government in 1994, Richard readied his RV and he and Betty took to the highways to continue their traveling adventures.

Richard was predeceased by his wife, Betty (2016); his sister, Lila; and brother Charles. He is survived by his sisters, Sylvia and Bernice; his eight children, James (Lucia), William (Katherine), Thomas (Donna), Daniel (Donna), Susan (Robert), Mary (George VI), Charles (Suzanne), and G. John (Missy); 19 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

A visitation for family and friends will be held from 6 pm to 8 pm on Friday, September 10, 2021 at Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Home, 121 W. Park Place, Newark, DE. A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11 am on Saturday, September 11, 2021 at St. Margaret of Scotland R.C. Church, 2431 Frazer Rd, Newark, DE. The family requests that masks be worn by all in attendance, regardless of vaccination status. Interment will be held privately.

The family would like to thank the following agencies for the gentle caring they offered Richard over the last 4 years: Paramount Senior Living, Millcroft Nursing Home, Home Instead, Christiana Care Hospital, and Seasons Hospice.

In lieu of flowers please send contributions for those impacted by Hurricane Ida to Redcross.org. 


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4 Condolences for Richard Joseph Hecht

  • Big love from the west coast. What a life your pops had.

  • I am sending my love to all of you, my dear ones, Richard’s 8 children and their spouses. It was truly time for him to go and be embraced by the One who held him all his life. May he now rest in peace.
    I shall always cherish the memories I have of him coming to visit me in the convent and welcoming me into his already filled home. I knew Richard for 87 years but only truly remember him for 84 years as that is when we were in the barn floor and he turned the big beater knife! Also the cottage on Lake Wisconsin provided an annual time to be together. I surely loved coming there and spending lazy days with you every summer.
    With gratitude for all you have done to help your Dad and my brother in his last years. With Love, Sister Sylvia

  • Our condolences , prayers and love are with you all at this time. We shared lots of good times with Richard and Betty.

  • Hurricane Katrina made a direct hit on Slidell, LA. in 2005. My elderly parents and my grandmother (91 yoa) lived next door to each other and had a 14′ storm surge which destroyed my parents home. My grandmother’s house survived so we decided to repair/rebuild it, but it was difficult with no structure to base out of. My parents and I knew Richard from Church, and, out of the pure kindness of his heart, he showed up with his RV and set it up in the yard. We now had a place to take breaks from the hard work and to keep food and water in. He was a real life-saver! Our parents are passed on now, but our family will ALWAYS appreciate what Richard did for us. He and Betty are in our prayers.