Shirley Helen Hecht
Female Leader in Chemical Engineering, Marketing Research, Loving Mother, Art Enthusiast, is Dead at Age 94.
Sue Hecht died on July 6, 2019 in Austin, Texas with her family at her bedside. The cause of death was congestive heart failure. Sue was born in Gering, Nebraska to Ralph and Margaret Bridges, and lived in Sandy, Oregon for her formative years. She is survived by two children, Stephen Hecht and Sheila Gordon, and grandchildren, Helen and Daniel.
Sue was a fierce leader in marketing research for the chemical and oil industries from the 1950's through the 1980s. She was the first woman in the State of Oregon to earn a degree in Chemical Engineering from Oregon State College in 1948. Although Sue's stated interest upon graduation was in research and development, OSC listed her primary interest as "secretarial work in engineering." After encountering many roadblocks to career advancement in the field, she (partnering with her former husband David Hecht) launched "Chemical Horizons," a New York City-based publication which forecasted production trends for the international chemical and oil industries. Predicasts, Inc., of Cleveland, Ohio purchased the company in 1970, and Ms. Hecht was eventually promoted to Vice President of Marketing Research. Sue was also a long-time and honored member of the Chemical Marketing Research Association.
After moving to New York City in 1948 to start her career with Esso (now Exxon), Sue studied painting with the Jewish-Hungarian artist Zoltan Hecht at the Carnegie Hall School of Art. She met and married David Hecht (Zoltan's son), with whom she raised two children in Manhattan and Bellerose, NY. After divorcing in 1970, she (with Stephen, Sheila and her mother Margaret) moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where she resided until 2002. In 2002, Sue moved to Springfield, MO to live with her daughter. For many years, Sue was a dedicated steward to the vast collection of Zoltan Hecht's original paintings, which are now enjoyed by her family.
Sue was a dedicated mother and grandmother who put her two children through undergraduate and graduate university programs. While she was in her 80s, she assisted n raising her two grandchildren in Houston, TX. Sue was passionate about art, politics, antiques, nutrition, and gardening. She was a proud, life-long advocate for the advancement of women's rights. She especially enjoyed her volunteer docent work at the Springfield Art Museum (Springfield, MO), discussing history and politics with her son Stephen and raising pets with daughter Sheila.
Sue Hecht's extraordinary life will be honored at a memorial service on August 11th, 2019 in Austin, Texas, where she resided since 2008. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to Hospice Austin in honor of Shirley Hecht www.hospiceaustin.org/