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Mary Virginia Mason Hecke Waters, 86, of Kansas City, Mo., passed away Tuesday, March 15, 2016 with family by her side. Virginias life and legacy is one of spirituality, independence and laughter.
Virginia was born March 27, 1929 at St. Anthonys Hospital. Her birth mother, Dorothy made the fateful decision to selflessly give Virginia up in hopes her daughter would be granted opportunities she alone could not provide. The Great Depression made it difficult to find families willing to adopt, so Virginia spent her first two years being cared for by the nuns of St. Anthonys Home for Infants. In 1931, fate struck Virginia's life when a family of three made the leap of faith to become a family of four. Virginia enjoyed telling friends and family that her brother, Jimmy "picked her out" from the rest of the children. She was adopted by her parents, Patrick Mason and Regina (Jean) Fetter.
Virginias lifetime was filled with both love and sorrow, but she handled it with gusto. In 1938, when Virginia was nine years old, her father passed away from diabetic complications. She was always enormously proud of her fathers endeavors and was present when the field house at Rockhurst University was partially named in honor of Pat Mason in 1939. She was even more elated when her father was inducted into the Rockhurst Hall of Fame in 1991.
After her fathers death, her mother married Martin OKeefe, a man that Virginia held in high esteem and truly looked at as a loving, doting father. Tragedy struck Virginias life once again when, after serving in World War II, Martins life was cut short and he was killed in a plane crash on his way home, leaving her mother a widow for the second and final time.
These experiences in Virginias life undoubtedly molded her into the independent, self-starting woman she was. She attended St. Francis Xavier Grade School and St. Marys in Leavenworth, Ks. After graduation, she attended University of Missouri-Kansas City. There, a tall, handsome soldier attending college on the G.I. Bill stole her heart and swept her off her feet. She married the first love of her life, Russell "Russ" Hecke on May 30, 1947. They had five children: Helen Jean, Rusty, Kris, Pat and Van.
In her new domestic life, Virginia immensely enjoyed "The Tuesday Club," a group of lady friends who met once at month for lunch with a little wine during the 1960's. Family get-together's accompanied "The Club" every now and then. One of the members was Geneva Waters. Their kinship would prove pivotal in the path of Virginias life story.
In 1967, Russ passed away after a courageous fight with a brain tumor, leaving Virginia a 38 year-old widow with young children to raise. But that wouldnt stop Virginia. She went back to school and graduated from University of Missouri-Kansas City with a degree in Physical Education. She taught in Center School District and then landed a position with Jackson County Parks and Recreation.
In 1970, Maurice "Moe" Waters, became a widower after the death of his wife GenevaVirginia's friend from the infamous "Tuesday Club." There were four children from Moes marriage to Geneva: Bob, Cheryl, Monica, and Tim. Later, Virginia and Moe began a courtship and were married in November 1971. Moes passing in 2004 was especially difficult for her, but in true "Virginia fashion," she powered through. He was the second and final love of her life.
Virginia retired as Director at Marlborough Community Center and then welcomely spent retirement improving her golf game, upholstering furniture, watching any sport on T.V. (except for basketball- she "hated" basketball!), taking care of her aging relatives and doting on her grandchildren. Not one grandchild frowned when she extended the invitation of her special buckwheat pancakes on Sunday mornings. An avid Chiefs fan, she could be found diligently watching her team. She wasnt a "quiet" fan; she used her college degree and her background to "coach" from the sidelines of her living room.
Even in her later life, she was a fierce competitor, oftentimes intimidating women in her family that were half her age. She could be found playing Swope Park on a weekly basis, and in retirement, she loved golfing with Moe and family members at their vacation homes in Branson and the Lake of the Ozarks. Her golf clubs were always in the trunk of her car awaiting the next chance for a round.
After Moes death, Virginia focused her energy on her family, and as the years progressed, her ability to do the activities she cherished became difficult. She enjoyed her Beefeater martinis with extra olives and preferred Natural Light to any other beer, a fact her family found amusing yet endearing.
She taught her children and grandchildren how to be independent and strong-willed. She was never an exceedingly emotional woman; however, her deep love and compassion for family was captured in thousands of photos, hundreds of golf games, countless family meals that never consisted of chicken, and many tears sprung from laughing uncontrollably with each other. She was, unquestionably, the matriarch of generations of a blended family and the glue that held them all together. She loved with all her heart and soul but was rarely afraid of vivaciously "giving" her opinion on numerous topics. But, all in all, she knew best and only wanted the best for her family. This tenacious spirit and independence were her survival skills for her entire life, but her inability to "ask for help" led to her declining health. Her family will persevere forward, honoring her legacy and effervescent spirit.
She was predeceased by her parents, Pat Mason and Regina Mason OKeefe; husbands Russell Hecke and Moe Waters; a brother, Jimmy Mason and one son, Rusty Van Hecke. She is survived by her children, Helen Van Hecke, Kansas City, Mo.; Kris Woddail (Ken), High Ridge, Mo.; Pat Van Hecke (Teri), St Louis, Mo.; E.Van Hecke (Tina), Peculiar, Mo.; Bob Waters (Jan), Chesterfield, Mo.; Cheryl Bolin (Chris), Wauwtosa, Wis.; Monica Waisner (Kirk), Atlanta, Ga.; Tim Waters (Trish), South Lake, Tex.; 19 grandchildren and 8.5 great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be Friday, March 18th at 9:30 a.m. at St. Thomas More Parish, 11822 Holmes Road, with a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30 a.m. Interment at Calvary Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Pat Mason Scholarship Fund at Rockhurst University or to Kansas City Hospice House.
Thank you, Virginia, for your wisdom and unconditional love.
Friday, March 18, 2016 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM
St. Thomas More Church 11822 Holmes Road Kansas City, MO 64131
Mass of Christian Burial
Friday, March 18, 2016 10:30 AM
St. Thomas More Church 11822 Holmes Road Kansas City, MO 64131
Friday, March 18, 2016 11:45 AM
Calvary Cemetery 6901 Troost Ave Kansas City, Missouri 64131
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