Many in the community are mourning the death of Dorothy Brown Hekking, who passed away peacefully on March 1 at her home in Waxahachie, surrounded by her loving family.
Most of those who knew her as a business partner also knew her as a friend, because Dorothy treated everyone as a friend with courtesy and respect no matter what. She was known for her integrity, kindness, generosity, intelligence and faith.
She moved to Waxahachie in 1958 and three years later founded Brown Realtors, the first real estate office in the city. She became a leader in the real estate community, and was responsible for recruiting and mentoring many in the profession.
One of those earliest young professionals she mentored was Betty Venable, who worked with Dorothy for about 10 years.
“She was a super lady, always kind and pleasant. Dorothy was very easygoing, understanding and considerate,” Venable said. “I remember when Dr. Murry came to town and back then a $100,000 house was a big sale. She let me show him that big house on Main Street, and it was very selfless of her.”
Another who remembers Dorothy well and is saddened by her passing is Teresa McNiel.
“We moved to Waxahachie in 1985. I met her and she was the person who got me into real estate,” McNiel said. “She did so much for the community, even more than people know about. That was one of the best things about her is the quiet way she gave back.”
McNiel said she remembered overhearing one of Dorothy’s phone conversations. She had told the person on the other line “yes, I’ll pay for it.” When McNiel asked about it, Dorothy told her someone couldn’t afford their medication – she had agreed with the pharmacist to pay for it.
Several of Dorothy’s caring acts were also spotlighted by the community, and her spirit of public service was shared amongst the many organizations she was a member of.
She and the Singleton family donated the land to the city of Waxahachie for Brown-Singleton Park. She delivered Meals-on-Wheels well into her 80s, served on the Waxahachie School Board and was a member of the Chamber of Commerce. Dorothy was a three-time past president of the Shakespeare Club, President of City Federation of Women’s Clubs and member of the Heirloom Club.
“She was fabulous and treated everyone the same,” McNiel said. “She laughed and told me a story about a dusty farmer wearing just overalls who walked into the office. She treated him as if he had walked in wearing a tuxedo. It turned out the farmer owned a lot of land and she helped him with selling and acquiring property for a long time. She always said you couldn’t judge anyone by how they look.”
Dorothy was always full of great advice and those who were close to her readily accepted her guidance. One of those people was James Strength, who specifically remembered her advice to treat everyone the same and with respect.
“One of the things she told me, which I have remembered and carried out all these years is always treat people the same. No matter whether they wore baggy, dirty or torn clothes treat them as if they had just put on a brand new suit,” Strength said. “I had someone walk in the office like that and Dorothy overhead me talk to him. When he had left, she came out and told me she was proud of how I had handled it. That made me feel good.”
Dorothy was a devout Christian and loved her church. At St. Joseph Catholic Church, she served as a past president of the St. Joseph Altar Society, taught Sunday school for many years, and could always be counted on to support and assist the church.
Dorothy was loved and respected by everyone who knew her. She will be deeply missed by all.
A funeral mass was held at 11 a.m. at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church on Saturday, March 9. In lieu of flowers, if desired, donations may be made in Mrs. Hekking’s honor to Saint Joseph’s Building Fund, 512 E. Marvin Ave., Waxahachie, TX 75165.
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