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Ruth Neilson Hecht

(Sept. 4, 1913 - Feb. 11, 2013)

Ruth Neilson Hecht, 99, died Monday, Feb. 11, 2013 at Willow Tree Care Center in Delta, Colo., where she had been a resident for the past  five years. When her health began to fail in 2000, she moved to Denver, Colo., and eventually to Delta, Colo., to live with her daughter, Betty until she entered the care center.

Ruth was born on Sept. 4, 1913 in Cowley. She was the youngest of four children born to Christian Emil and Ellamore Fitzgerald Neilson. She spent her childhood in Lovell, and graduated from Lovell High School in 1931. She married George Washington Hecht in Billings on May 16, 1931 and they began their married life on a farm in Powell. Three children were born to this union, Betty Ann, Robert Neilson and Harry George.

Ruth had a natural talent for music and she taught piano lessons for more than 40 years. Many local pianists got their start by sitting on the piano bench with Ruth by their side, counting beats. Ruth could also play the piano by ear. She played for numerous dance bands, weddings, funerals, church meetings and other community events held throughout the Big Horn Basin.

She was an excellent cook and her honey candy is especially remembered by many. She also enjoyed knitting, crocheting and crafts of all kinds. Her home was always a welcome place for any visitors and no one left hungry.

Ruth and George moved from their farm into Rocky Mountain Manor, where Ruth was living prior to her move to Colorado. Her husband, George, died in 1993.

Ruth was a lifetime member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She was also very active in the Riverside Club, Daughters of Utah Pioneers and the Music Teachers Association. She loved to learn and she took full advantage of courses at Northwest College and also enjoyed the many classes offered by Park County Extension Service. She was an avid genealogist and kept priceless records, along with numerous photos.

Ruth is survived by her son, Harry George of Brookings, S.D.; son-in-law, Cliff Boyce of Delta, Colo.; and a daughter-in-law, Jackie Hecht of Powell. Also surviving are grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 62 years, George; son, Robert; daughter, Betty; and daughter-in-law, Glenda. Her parents and siblings also preceded her in death.

Funeral services will be held at the LDS Avenue E Chapel in Powell on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 11 a.m. A viewing will be one hour before the service and from 6-7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 18 at Thompson Funeral Home.

Burial will be at Crown Hill Cemetery.

Thompson Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements in Powell. The family suggests memorial donations to Homesteader Museum in Powell.


  • posted by Cindy Olsen Bechtold

    February 24, 2013 2:30 pm

    I loved sister Hecht. She lived down the lane from my family on the Willwood. I took piano lessons and I think I can smell cinammon rolls! A nicer lady one could never find.
    Cindy Olsen Bechtold

  • posted by Sherry Nay

    February 20, 2013 9:27 am

    Mrs. Hecht was my piano teacher too. It has been so many years ago but I can easily picture her in my mind and remember her well. She was a part of a great childhood in Powell.

  • posted by Verne House

    February 19, 2013 1:52 pm

    Mrs Hecht was my piano teacher. She was good, and smart enough to switch my lessons to Saturday afternoon. End of my languishing short career in music. Condolences to Harry, one of PHSs smartest scholars.

  • posted by Anne Paddock Norskog

    February 19, 2013 8:37 am

    I started taking piano lessons from Mrs.Hecht when I was 5 years old. She was a treasure, passing on the fine gift of music to her many students. My father would drive me to her lessons and sit in the living room with George where the two farmers would discuss their cattle, the prices of beans, the weather and the state of things in Washington, D.C. I took lessons from Mrs. Hecht for more than six years--until the death of my own father, in fact. Godspeed, Mrs. Hecht. You are loved and respected by many people, including me.

  • posted by Shirley Gillett Wofford

    February 15, 2013 9:38 pm

    I got on the school bus, headed home, one day every week, to take a piano lesson from Mrs. Hecht. She often had cinnamon rolls in the oven, and that was quite a bonus to the lessons. My condolences to Harry who was a school classmate of mine.

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