In Passing: Richard F. Heckendorf

Richard F. Heckendorf

June 22, 1932-June 3, 2012

Richard “Rich” or “Richie” F. Heckendorf, age 79, died on Sunday, June 3, 2012 in Fort Morgan, Colorado. Rich was born on June 22, 1932 to Richard H. and Jeanette Heckendorf Krestchmer in Denver, Col. Rich grew up in extraordinary circumstances created by his grandfather, Edward H. Heckendorf, who founded the Climax Molybdenum Mine in Leadville, COl., one of only three in the world. Rich graduated from Littletown High School in 1950 and later attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Col. After CSU, he moved to the family ranch in Fort Garland, Col. The ranch named “The Trinchera Ranch” was one of the original Spanish land grants dating back to the 1800s and totalled more than 171,000 acres.

Rich flourished on the ranch as a young cowboy and was known to have had “mucho gusto”! Rich did everything a good cowboy should do and included predator control to include canines, bears and lions. He carried a six gun and long tuns and knew how and when to use them.

He married JoAnne L. Mang of Blanca, Col. on June 10, 1954. After marriage, Rich and JoAnne bought a ranch at Radium, Col., along Sheephorn Creek, where they raised Herefords, native hay and two daughters: Edna Joy and Karen Mai. in 1965, Rich, JoAnne and the girls moved from Radium to the Dalton Ranch, south of Kersey. In 1969, they again moved, this time to the Burdett Farm located along the South Platte River, north of Kersey. Rich spent 43 years at the Burdett Farm, until his death.

Rich was a sharp shooter, gun collector, firearms expert, trapper, fisherman and expert pit barbecue facilitator. He was known to have hit 98 of 100 clay birds, even though he was blind in one eye. He loved fast cars, blowing stuff up, white water rafting and hunting for arrow heads, big game and rattlesnakes. He was a 32nd degree Mason and belonged to El Jebel Shrine and Weston Lodge in Littleton, Col. He was a 20-year member of the Round-Up Riders of the Rockies.

When they moved to the Bartlett Farm, Rich began work with the State of Colorado Department of Agriculture as a predator, rodent or “other pest” control agent. He sent many coyotes to their graves. He retired from that position in 1993.

Rich was a strong NRA member, a member of the NTA and Colorado Trappers Association. For years, he organized, supervised and oversaw the annual CTA Rendezvous pit barbecue, where no one went away hungry or disappointed with the beef.

He is survived by his wife JoAnne, daughters Edna Joy Heckendorf, of Oceanside, Calif. and Kersey, Col., and Karen Mai Heckendorf Case, of Cheyenne, Wyo., three half siblings, numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions may be made to the CTA Bill Rogers Scholarship Foundation in care of Allnutt Funeral Service, 702 13th St., Greeley, CO 80631.

Rich was a helluva man, a man’s man! He was one in a million!

— Submitted by Joe Lohnes with permission to use parts of his original obituary written by his daughter, Joy.

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