Norman E. Hecimovich, age 83, of Austin, died Sunday afternoon, Feb. 18, 2018 at Mayo Clinic Hospital Rochester, Saint Marys Campus.
He was born Dec. 12, 1934, in Evergreen Township, Koochiching County, Minn., to George and Nora (Dahl) Hecimovich. Norm attended school in Bovey, Minn., then graduated from Greenway High School in Coleraine, Minn., where he was President of the class of 1953. Norm attended Bemidji State University and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Education and his Master’s Degree in School Administration. In addition, he earned a Specialist Degree in Education from Mankato State University and completed graduate work at the University of Minnesota.
Norm served his country in the U.S. Army during the Korean conflict, the Vietnam War, and Desert Storm. He was a dedicated veteran, serving both in active duty and reserve, from 1957, until his honorable discharge Dec. 11, 1994. Norm holds over 25 separate awards for valor and meritorious service from the U.S. Military, including the Legion of Merit, two bronze stars, a meritorious service medal, seven Army commendation medals, seven Army achievement medals, National Defense with two stars, Korean Service with two stars, Vietnam Service with seven stars, Southwest Asia with three stars, paratrooper wings, ranger tab, and many others.
On June 27, 1959, he was united in marriage to Helen Dimich in Bovey, Minn. The couple raised four children. Norm’s career as an educator and school administrator spanned over four decades. Beginning in 1960, he worked in the Greenway School District in Coleraine. Norm then served as a principal in Austin Public Schools for 26 years. Before his retirement on July 1, 1995, he received the Distinguished Principal Award in 1990, the Outstanding Leadership Award in 1994, and the Federal Outstanding Leadership Award in 1995. Following his retirement, Norm served as an Education Consultant for the Minnesota Department of Education. In 2009, Norm was inducted into the Greenway High School Hall of Fame.
He was Past Commander of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Disabled American Veterans. Most recently he served as Adjutant of the V.F.W. and D.A.V., Color Guard Commander of the V.F.W., and Past American Legion Color Guard Commander. Norm was active in his community and received many awards for his service, including the Austin City Council, the Austin Area Chamber of Commerce, the Port Authority, HRA Board, Family Connection Board, Community Education Advisory Board, Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau, Austin Shrine Oriental Band and Shrine Club Treasurer, Past Worship Master of the Masonic Lodge, Past Worthy Patron of Eastern Star Chapter, Memorial Day Chair for 25 years, ESGR Region 6 Committee Chair in the 1st Congressional District, ESGR Liaison for Austin and Rochester National Guard and Army Reserve Units, Ombudsman for National Guard and Reserve soldiers, Reintegration Coordinator for the Austin area, 2008 Austin City Volunteer, two-time Austin Chamber of Commerce 4th of July Parade Grand Marshall, Minnesota’s ESGR 2008 Volunteer of the Year, President’s 2007 and 2008 Volunteer of the Year Award, the 2015 Secretary of Defense Lifetime Award for service to the military and Army Reserve forces, Chair of Veterans Memorial Committee, Beyond a Yellow Ribbon Committee, and numerous other organizations. Norm’s service and dedication will be gratefully remembered by his loved ones, who will miss him dearly.
Survivors include his wife of nearly 60 years, Helen Hecimovich of Austin; his sons, James (Heidi) Hecimovich of Brownsdale, Dr. Mark Hecimovich of Cedar Falls, Iowa, and Bryn (Julie) Hecimovich of Rochester; four grandchildren Sarah, Hannah, Michelle, and Cherie; three great-grandchildren; and siblings, Darrel (Lieschen) Hecimovich of Bovey and Gail (Dennis) Nucech of Hibbing. He was preceded in death by his parents and his son, David G. Hecimovich.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 3, at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Austin, with the Rev. Michael Olmsted officiating. Friends may call from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, March 2, at the Worlein Funeral Home and one hour prior to the service Saturday at the church. A Masonic service will be held at 7 p.m. Friday at Worlein Funeral Home. Interment with military honors will be in Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Minneapolis.
Memorials can be directed to the Austin Area Veterans, Westminster Presbyterian Church, or recipient of donor’s choice. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.worlein.com.