Beloved husband of Jenny, beloved father of Sam, Mathers, and Sarah Jo, David E. Heuck died on Tuesday, November 21 in Sheridan, WY.
Though he eventually found his way to home in the grasslands of Montana and Wyoming, Dave was born in Hollywood. He and his siblings, Susan (Zettle) and Bob grew up in the shadow of the San Gabriel Mountains in Claremont, California. They loved music and each other and church and Halloween. As a high school student, Dave wandered the Sierra Mountains with his best friend Tom and fished his way to Yellowstone Park by the time he was 18 years old.
In 1968, after a summer spent haying in Jackson, Wyoming, Dave went to study at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. He had a bit of a tough time deciding on a major moving from English to Art and finally settling on Religious Studies. Later, Dave also studied Ag Production at Montana State – in the end he used every bit of his education to love his children, his grandchildren, and the land. While studying at Lewis and Clark, Dave met his beloved Jenny Mathers. Together, Dave and Jenny shared 43 years of passion and family. They climbed mountains, grew cattle and communities, and managed to stay in love despite the ravages of disease and loss.
David joined the Mathers family ranching business in 1976, alongside Jenny, her father Frank, and her uncle Bill. Jenny and Dave lived on the family ranch north of Miles City until 1980. After Jenny’s parents died, Dave helped manage the daily operations of Mathers’ Land Company. He and Jenny grew the family business with all of their love and energy, eventually starting their own registered Angus breeding operation on the Yellowstone River just east of Miles City.
In 1996 Dave and Jenny moved their registered herd to Thermopolis, Wyoming. The beauty of the Red Canyon Ranch captured Dave’s imagination and his optimistic spirit. He and Jenny moved cattle across the high desert bluffs raising their youngest son Sam to be a devoted cattlemen and avid outdoorsman. Dave enjoyed every minute of his nearly thirty years of ranching – he had his dream job and often reminded his children to love their work.
Dave served his churches and his community with enthusiasm and heart. He often recounted fond memories of serving on the Miles City Art Center Board, the Montana Committee for the Humanities, and the Montana State University President’s Advisory Council. After leaving ranching in 2001, Dave created a second distinguished career in non-profit service serving as the first Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of the Eastern Bighorns. Dave worked with Habitat for almost a decade and counted it among his best contributions.
Dave was a devote believer and a natural skeptic. He was optimistic and funny and practical. He could fix anything and loved to solve a problem. He wanted his children to ask questions and his beloved Jennifer Jingels to be happy and challenged. He taught us all to climb mountains and be forever hopeful.
Dave is survived by his wife Jenny; his daughter Sarah Jo (Cody); his sons Mathers and Sam (Kristy); his grandchildren Frank, Luca, Miles, Brock, Violet, and William; and his sister-in-law Julie Brickman Hoyk. He adored his sisters-in-law, Jody and Susan, and their big, happy, families. Donations to Habitat for Humanity or to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s research in David’s name would be gratefully appreciated.
Tout passe. L’amour reste.
Services will be held on Friday, November 24, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. at the First Christian Church in Sheridan, Wyoming.