Lisa Hechtel, R.I.P.
Posted by sibylle in women, Germany, Eulogies, Europe (Thursday June 20, 2013 at 12:39 pm)

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With my mother in the European Alps

This will be the hardest eulogy I’ve ever had to write: that of my mother, Lisa Berta Hechtel.

My mother lived a great life, a full one, and enjoyed  a long life, but she still left us too soon. I cry, as I write this, and wish I had spent more time with my parents while I still had the opportunity.

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Lisa Hechtel as a young woman

I knew Lisa Hechtel only as my mother, and we take our parents for granted — until we no longer have them. Since her passing, countless people have written to me to share how much they loved my mother, and how much they will miss her presence in their lives.

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An early climb with my parents

My mother always put her family first - she followed my father on his climbs, belayed him, and then seconded the route. She never took credit for her many accomplishments - climbing big mountains in a time before most women climbed.

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My parents on a climbing trip long ago

After I was born, she usually accompanied my father on his trips, cooked for every one while camping, and often hiked to the base of the climbs to bring food for my father, while taking care of me.

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Lisa feeding her family in the Schwaebische Alp

I still use the little tin tea kettle
She once told me: “When you were little, Richard needed a climbing partner,  so we tied a rope around you , and tied you to a tree while we were climbing.”

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Early climbing trip in Germany

None of the photos in their albums show me tied to a tree — most show my mother carrying me, holding me, and feeding myself and my father.

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Lisa getting me a  drink

She taught me to ski, and helped my father take me climbing, while still helping to take care of her own mother, and her niece, and her many friends.

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Another early climbing trip - as I got bigger, the mountains got bigger, and harder.

As I look through the early photos, I have so many questions  that I never had a chance to ask  - so many things I never knew about.

After I grew up, and left home, my parents trekked in Nepal - but I’m not sure when, or where. They climbed Kilimanjaro , climbed in New Zealand, and numerous other places around the world. I wish they’d told me more about their trips - but I was far away, in Colorado, living my life and raising my own son.

My parents trekking in Nepal
And I  hope that my mother’s many friends will read this, and  share their memories of their times together.

11 comments for Lisa Hechtel, R.I.P. »

  1. Hi Sybille,
    thanks for your mail, after reading this blogpost I had to run straight downstairs to show Tante - and I wasn’t mistaken, it’s really Richard and Uncle Max, Lisa, you and Tante Lisl on pic 3 ;-)
    (I asked her to put down a few memories, give her some time, she will…)

    The last picture is exactly how I remember Richard and Lisa, thinking very fondly of great times spent together.

    Lots of greetings and write to you soon!
    Eveline & Tante Lisl

    Comment by Eveline — June 20, 2013 @ 1:06 pm

  2. Sybille: What a lovely post. When my own time comes, I hope that my children would have even half as much positive feeling to express about me. Your mother and father certainly gave you the gifts of an outdoor life, preparing you for the joys of your adult life. I’m so sorry for your loss. We are always left with so many questions–

    Comment by Rosemary Carstens — June 20, 2013 @ 1:13 pm

  3. Sibylle, this is truly extraordinary, about your mother, Lisa, her relationship to mountain climbing and her family, and her love for you. I’m so glad to hear about her and to understand more about what made you the strong outdoorswoman you are. Thank you for this great post and the fantastic photos!

    Comment by Gail Storey — June 20, 2013 @ 7:51 pm

  4. Hi Sybille, Thank you for sharing with us some of these wonderful memory’s an photos. I’m very sorry for your loss an the worlds loss of such a wonderful, smart, outgoing, cofident strong women. In the few years I knew Lisa she always talked of her wonderful life of mountaineering her loving husband Richard and her very accomplished very smart daughter Sybille. She was very proud of your climbing , skiing an study s. They honestly do not make them Like Lisa anymore. I’m very great full to have been in Lisa’s life I learned a lot from her she was a part of history. Thank you again Sybille

    Comment by joey arechiga — June 20, 2013 @ 10:17 pm

  5. Hi Sybille,
    unsere herzliche Anteilnahme zum Tode deiner Mutter.
    Wir können uns noch gut an ihre Herzlichkeit und Gastfreundschaft erinnern, als wir sie und deinen Vater in den Anfang 1980er-Jahren in Kalifornien besuchten und natürlich an ihre lieben, jährlichen Grüße zu Weihnachten, wenn sie von ihren Unternehmungen berichtete.
    Viel Kraft und schöne Erinnerungen.
    Bernhard und Susi

    Comment by Bernhard Brendel — June 21, 2013 @ 5:23 am

  6. Although I have only known Ms Lisa for a short amount of time, her impact on our facility has been tremendous. She has helped a lot of our residents bounce back by providing a positive example during her therapy sessions. She has always made it a point to do her best. We are all blessed to have known a strong and amazing woman like Ms Lisa. Thanks, Sybille, for this beautiful eulogy. Please come visit when you’re in town.

    Comment by Antonio Rodriguez III — June 21, 2013 @ 9:19 am

  7. Lovely childhood memories, kept alive with the rich photographs. I can only imagine how difficult it was to write this while stung with grief over the loss of your mother. You did it well!
    Carol Grever

    Comment by Carol Grever — June 21, 2013 @ 1:41 pm

  8. Hello Sybille,

    It was a pleasure to meet your mother five years ago and to borrow the old “visitor’s” car from her to drive to Tuolumne to climb with you guys. She was clear of mind, sure of herself, and rich with history. My condolences on her passing. Thanks for the posting.
    Kurt Aronow

    Comment by Kurt Aronow — June 22, 2013 @ 6:26 am

  9. Well done, Sibylle, and thanks for sharing these amazing photos, notes on her life, and the joy and wonderment of being your mother’s daughter. All best wishes for the evolving journey after her passing. You have wonderful, positive memories to help you along the way.

    Comment by Eric Doub — July 10, 2013 @ 5:41 pm

  10. Sybille,
    Thank you for the photos. They help me to appreciate you and your mother. I’ve known both your mother and father since about 1968 and have climbed occasionally with your father since about the mid 1970s. I have enjoyed climbing with Richard and learned to appreciate them both. I came to admire and like your mother very much, particularly sharing the driving to and from Joshua tree climbs in later years. Your mother is one of the best people I have ever known and I have always enjoyed her company.
    The loss of a parent is so final, so many questions not answered that won’t be, but we have our memory of their life and their love to help us resolve ourselves.

    Comment by Stuart Langdoc — July 11, 2013 @ 1:18 pm

  11. I glanced at this tribute when you first posted it and told myself I’d come back to it. It’s taken me too many weeks. This evening I did, spending time with the wonderful nostalgic pictures and your evocative descriptions. Thank you for sharing these memories.

    Comment by Claire Walter — August 16, 2013 @ 8:23 pm

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