Shirley Jean Heckart, 86, of Lander died at Westward Heights Care Center on March 31, 2022. Shirley was born on March 17, 1936 to Kelvie Allen Beers and Ella Bartman Beers in Kearney, Nebraska. Evening visitation will be Tuesday, April 5, 2022 from 5 – 7:00pm in the Chapel of Mount Hope, Hudson’s Funeral Home, 680 Mount Hope Drive, Lander, WY 82520. The Funeral Service will be Wednesday, April 6, 2022 at 11:00am in the Covenant Presbyterian Church, 875 Fremont Street, Lander, Wyoming 82520. Burial will follow in the Mount Hope Cemetery, 720 Mount Hope Drive, Lander, Wyoming.
Shirley Jean Heckart (Beers) was born on March 17, 1936 to Kelvie Allen Beers and Ella Sadie Beers (Bartman) in Kearney, Neb. She attended school in Torrington, graduating in 1954. Shirley went on to attend college at the University of Wyoming earning a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. In the summer of 1957, Shirley began dating the love of her life, Gerald Heckart, and on August 31,1958 they wed. Shortly after their marriage the family moved to Riverton where they welcomed their first son Blaine in 1960. Not long after, Brian was born in 1962, and in 1966 Grant joined the family. In June of 1965 the family moved up to South Pass so Jerry could continue working for the highway department. During this time Shirley substitute taught in Lander. In 1968, Jerry and Shirley moved to Lander where Shirley began working as a teacher in special education at the Wyoming State Training School. Shirley loved each of her students and found so much happiness in teaching and seeing them constantly learning. Shirley connected with her students so much so she eventually took legal guardianship of one student. Shirley was instrumental in starting the day program at the State School, which continues to this day. After Shirley retired she kept working as a teacher. She found that her life did not feel complete unless she was able to teach. Shirley continued to teach on a volunteer basis at the Cornerstone Christian Academy until 2020. In 2008, Shirley was nominated for, and received, the Wyoming Jefferson Award for public service. While the Jefferson Award is given to those who do extraordinary things for their community, Shirley never felt that her work was extraordinary. To her, it was just who she was.
Shirley truly was one of a kind. She lived 86 years in Wyoming, where she dedicated herself to serving and teaching others. Shirley was always strong, fighting cancer four different times while still remaining resolute, never despairing. Her zest for life was undeniable. She was a social butterfly that many people knew and loved, she was active in church and served our Lord and Savior with such grace. Although she never realized it, she leaves a lasting impact on her community and legacy people will remember. She touched the lives of many children, encouraging them to love reading, love learning, but most of all love themselves. She had an uncanny ability to calm even the most upset person with her love and kindness. Shirley would go out of her way to help anyone in need may it be financially, an ear to listen to, a hug to give, or a meal made. Shirley’s life legacy is more than can be put into words.
Shirley is survived by her husband of 63 years, Jerry; her sons, Blaine (Kathleen), and Grant; grandchildren, Kortni Cassity (Tyler), Brittany Callahan (Josh), Kramer Heckart (Alyssa), Brooks Heckart (Taylor); great-grandchildren, Taylor, Kolbi, Beau and Colter Cassity, Aaron, Jonah, Bailey, and Caleb Callahan, and Mary-Grace Heckart.
Shirley was preceded in death by her son, Brian; her parents, Kelvie and Ella Beers, and her in-laws, Clarence Heckart and Della Hanks.
In lieu of flowers, Shirely would have appreciated donations and support to local charities and organizations. So buy the cookies from the children selling the cookie dough, do a good deed for someone in the community, volunteer your time, live like Shirley.
Please sign the on-line guestbook: hudsonsfh.com