The world gained a bright light when Greg was born on a bitterly cold North Dakota night Jan. 10, 1964. And that light only got brighter and warmer as Greg went through life.
He died April 4, 2019, from complications from cancer. His light still shines in all of his family and friends. He would talk with anyone and he made friends whether it was an encounter in line or through his work as a teacher, case manager and child behavior specialist. And of course selling melons! He was part of the Dixon Melon Family and loved to go to the markets and sell melons. He made wonderful friends at the farmers markets.
His dad was the famous Missoulian photographer and famed melon grower Harley Hettick, and Greg lived in Missoula in his early years. His mom, Kay Bond, was a school teacher and after his parents divorced, Greg lived in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Thailand with his mom Kay, sister Michelle, stepdad Jack and stepsisters. His dad Jack worked for the Department of Agriculture as a soil scientist and taught Greg his car mechanic skills. Kay and Jack took the kids to many different places around the world — Greg loved telling stories of his time abroad and was always so thankful for those experiences. He made a lifelong friend in Saudi Arabia, Stakely Bechaud, with whom he had many adventures. The family came back to the states and Greg graduated from Laurel High School in 1982. In Laurel, Greg made friends with Steve Graham; their love for their shared GTO, and rock ‘n’ roll bonded them so, even after 34 years apart, when they got together in Chicago two years ago, it was a magical moment to see them connect up again as two 17-year-olds.
While working at Scheels outdoor stores, Greg met April Gabler and they married in 1995 in Moorhead, Minnesota. They soon moved out to Montana to be near Greg’s dad and his stepmom Joey and their family. They bought property in Dixon and made a home there. In July 2002, they welcomed a beautiful baby girl, Autumn Rae. Indeed, she was a ray of light in his life and he loved his little girl with all his heart. In 2006, they welcomed his beautiful boy Teigen Jhay. Teigen loved to hang with his dad and every visit he and Greg would be cuddling together. His children meant the world to him and having them around always put a smile on his face. They know their dad is watching over them and that his spirit will be guiding them throughout their lives.
In 2008, Greg met his wife Marsha and from the moment they met, they both knew instantly that they had met the one and soon married in 2009. Marsha brought a son into the marriage and Ian always considered Greg his dad. Marsha was very relieved that Greg would be the one to teach Ian how to drive. (So was Ian!) Ian and Greg loved to talk politics, and philosophy, and Greg loved to teach him to build fence! Together the Hettick family of five had many adventures together as a family: Disneyworld, Chicago, Oregon Coast and last Christmas, the Dominican Republic. After Greg’s cancer diagnosis in January of 2017, they were inseparable and Marsha was at his side for every doctor appointment, every procedure and even learned to give him shots he needed. A heartfelt thank you to all the doctors and nurses at Kalispell Regional Medical Center and Northwest Oncology and Hematology Center. And a special thank you to Dr. Jose Ness, his oncologist who guided us through the scary world of cancer. And no words can do justice to Carolyn and Debbie, who were with Marsha when Greg passed and held his hand and gave him comfort. And to Sara, who jumped in and helped and provided Marsha with back massages. And to Katie and Diane who came out and spent snowy cold weeks helping Marsha take care of Greg.
Greg graduated from the University of Montana in 2002 and taught in western Montana for a number of years. In 2008 he became a case manager in Plains, and then a child behavior specialist in the Hot Springs School District. He loved working with kids and held them all in his heart. And he loved his co-workers and made wonderful friendships with Chris, Kim, Lisa and Bob.
Greg loved Dixon and all the great neighbors he had. His special friends across the street, Bob and Pattie, and their wonderful children George, Henry and Adele — remember all the dance for root beer floats we did? He loved having you over! Neighbors Doug, Connie, Anna, David, JD, Chris, Stacy and Tom S. and Greg loved his family — a huge extended family but he never called them stepbrothers or stepsisters; he called them his brother or sister. His father and mom Joey lived a mile away from Greg and always opened up their home for all the family celebrations, and there were many! — with his younger brothers Faus, Guy and Kent, sisters Michelle, Wendy, Shari, Laura, Merida and Jill, all his in-laws, Cassie, Yolanda, Brad, Jerry, Ken, Wally, Rhea, Katie, Jeff, Diane, Max, Sharon, Tom, Brenda, Eric, John and Beth, and all the wonderful nieces and nephews that made all the family get-togethers full of laughter, including Levi, Andrea, Jake, Allie, Pauletta, Sabra, Jerrilyn, Quincy, Zeke and Zaeda from the Montana side. Ian and I were thrilled to gain such a great family! Shannon, Shaun, Brian, Nicole, Max, Josh, Jackson, Avery, Braeden, Conner, Adam, Zachery and Hailey from the East Coast — he loved you all so much.
A celebration of life will be held at 1 p.m. on April 13 in the Dixon School gym. A reception will follow at the Dixon Melon Farm.
We are setting up a memorial scholarship in Greg’s name for Dixon and Hot Springs schools; please make checks out to Marsha Hettick or stop by the Park Side Credit Union and there is an account for the Greg Hettick Memorial Scholarship.
Greg practiced kindness every day — sharing a smile, a thought, a hug or touch. He brought much joy to many people. His wish for all would be to take that extra time to really say hello, listen to what people say and gives hugs as often as you can. Peace brothers and sisters!
Friends are encouraged to visit the website at www.buffalohillfh.com to leave notes of condolence for the family. Buffalo Hill Funeral Home and Crematory caring for the family.