Richard Anderson Heckmann
December 7, 1931 - March 21, 2021
Richard "Dick" Anderson Heckmann peacefully passed from this life on Sunday, March 21, surrounded by his beloved wife Karen and family. He was born December 7, 1931 in Salt Lake City, Utah, to William Charles Harding Heckmann and Emma Olivea Anderson Heckmann. Raised on a Cache Valley farm, Richard gained a lifelong value of family and hard work. His zest for life, kindness and sense of humor blessed all who knew him. He loved spending time with his wife, children and grandchildren, enjoying sports, hiking, fishing, gardening and reading.
As a young man, Richard thrived on 4H and scouting, earning his Eagle Scout award. He attended South Cache High School, Utah State University (BS Zoology). An ROTC graduate, he enlisted in the army, 7th Army, 7th Corp, 74th Field Artillery Battalion. He will be laid to rest with full military honors.
Richard continued at USU (MS, 1958) and postgraduate studies at several universities. While at UC Davis, Richard met the love of his life, Karen Olson. They married in the Logan, Utah LDS temple on June 17, 1963 and raised five children. Richard earned his PhD in Zoology from Montana State University in 1970, among the first to use scanning electron microscopy to study parasites in Yellowstone Lake trout. He kept a lifelong research agenda of protecting fish populations as safe food resources worldwide. Richard made a point of including family in his work, allowing his kids to "experiment" with petri dishes and microscopes in his labs. His wife and children traveled with him to research sites, overseas conferences and visiting professorships in many countries.
Richard taught at Fresno State University, and landed his dream job at Brigham Young University as Zoology professor for 32 years. He was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to Egypt, a visiting professorship to the Russian Academy of Sciences and an appointment to the Hanoi Vietnam Biology Institute. As a founding board member of the Benson Institute, Richard volunteered in Guatemala and Peru, developing sustainable food resources. He also taught Book of Mormon courses at BYU for 11 years. His dedication to teaching was recognized with an Alumni Professorship Award for teaching and research excellence. Post retirement in 2003, he continued emeritus research in Parasitology with Monte L. Bean Museum. He cooperated with scientists from Asia, India, the Middle East, and Egypt. He was inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society early in his career, and received a lifetime emeritus membership award in 2004.
Richard loved his service as Cubmaster and Scoutmaster, receiving the BSA Silver Beaver award and the Scoutmaster National Award of Merit. He served in many callings in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, including stake missionary, BYU 52nd ward bishop, Missionary Training Center branch president, stake high council, and temple worker. Richard and Karen served a temple mission to Nauvoo in 2011.
Above all, Richard loved his family. He is survived by his wife Karen, his children, Lisa (Brent) Olsen, Nancy (James) Erekson, Amy Elizabeth (Joel) Zenger, Richard Adam (Heidi) Heckmann, Eden Camille (Michael) Davies, and sixteen adored grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Conrad Heckmann and sisters Joy Monson, Mary Marble, and Wyoma Parker. The family sincerely thanks physicians, nurses, therapists and staff of Utah Valley Hospital, Aspen Ridge of Utah Valley and Aspen Ridge Home Health and Hospice. Viewings will be at Nelson Family Mortuary, 4780 N. University Ave, Provo, Utah on March 30th, 6:00-8:00 pm and again March 31st just prior to the 11:00 am memorial service. Live broadcast of the service will be on NelsonMortuary.com. Richard will be buried at 2:00 pm at Salt Lake City Cemetery, on the NE corner of 4th Avenue & N Street.