John Michael Hecko of Greencastle passed from this life to his eternal home on Monday, December 4, 2023. He was born in Bloomington, Indiana, to George and Lendora Rader Hecko, then lived in Greencastle, Indiana, from early childhood until after his graduation in 1958 from Greencastle High School.
One of seven siblings, he was raised in the Catholic Church, and then at the age of 58 discovered the reality of a personal relationship with Jesus, and was baptized at the Gardenside Baptist Church of Lexington.
He enlisted in the US Army after high school graduation and served in the Army Ordinance Corp, working with Nike missiles for much of his service time.
After his discharge, he briefly attended Indiana State before relocating to Lexington, Kentucky, where he obtained Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Education degrees, as well as some further education, related to his employment with the Lexington Fire Department. His fire department career included Bomb Squad, Arson Investigation, and Training Instructor. He was a battalion chief when he took early retirement in 1989 due to severe hearing loss.
He was generous with his time, amazing talents, and possessions, which he shared with many individuals and organizations. He was active in the community, both in Lexington and Greencastle. Some of these included things he created for the Lexington children’s museum and the annual Nutcracker Ballet in Lexington. On returning to Greencastle in early 1999, he immediately began to get involved here. He was a Gideon, serving in jail ministries, as a church speaker, doing Bible distributions, and holding several offices. As a member of First Baptist Church he served in various ways, including as Deacon, Trustee, and creator of special items. He most enjoyed those for children, including Bible School and Preschool. Other organizations and projects included People Pathways, where he built and placed bluebird houses along the trail, Habitat for Humanity, the Courthouse Clocks and Chimes project, Friends of the Park, Amateur Radio Club, and Woodworkers Club.
He married Arlene (Ikamire) Schroer on July 18, 1999. He loved having her grandchildren as his own, and his imagination and creativity resulted in very special “Mike-made” gifts for them and many others.
Besides Arlene, other survivors are his brothers Jerry and Dan; sister Flo Hatcher; several nephews and nieces; Arlene’s sons, Bob( wife Jeanette) Schroer and Steve ( wife Lisa) Schroer; grandchildren, Hannah, Luke (Masha), Emma, Jacob (Kasey), and Ashley(fiance' Damon Attkinsson) and sisters-in-law Carol Ikamire and Mary Ikamire.
Preceding him in death were his parents; sister Becky McCann; and brothers Joe and Sam.
Services will be held on Monday, December 11th at First Baptist Church 404 Judson Drive Greencastle, IN, with visitation from 12:30 PM until the time of service at 1:30 PM. Burial will follow at Forest Hill Cemetery.
Gifts in Mike’s memory may be shared with First Baptist Church for youth ministries,
Hopkins-Rector is in charge of arrangements,