Robert C. Hetzel, 87, of Manchester, CT passed away on Monday, December 20, 2021 at Manchester Memorial Hospital. Robert was born in Kane, PA. He was the son of the late John E. Hetzel and Mabel (Richards) Hetzel.
He is survived by his loving wife of 54 years, Patricia (Sommers) Hetzel, his daughter Sara (Hetzel) DeForge and her husband Colin, his oldest sister Joan (Hetzel) Schmidt and her husband Fred, his youngest sister Tamar (Hetzel) MacFadyen, his sister-in-law Maria Hetzel, 10 nieces and nephews and their extended families.
He is predeceased by his father John, his mother Mabel, his brother Donald, and his son Alexander Markwell Hetzel.
Robert graduated from Rockville High School in 1952. He attended Yale University School of Chinese in order to qualify as a specialized interpreter for the United States Air Force in 1956. Bob left the U.S. Air Force approximately four years later and entered the Air Force Reserves until 1963.
Robert enlisted in the United States Army. He received the Army Reserves Components Achievement Medal in 1983. He received the Army Commendation Medal for meritorious service in 1985. He was honorably discharged from the Army in 1986.
Bob worked at Traveler's Research Center in Hartford CT and finished up his career working for the State of Connecticut: administrator, editor, and then grant editor. After retirement, he enjoyed working for nurseries.
Upon moving to Manchester and buying their first home, Bob and Pat developed an organic, self-sustaining garden. Bob said it took him 20+ years, but he "finally figured it out". For 12 years, Bob volunteered on the Hockanum River Linear Park Committee, a subcommittee of the Conservation Commission. Bob and Pat are also lifetime members of the Manchester Historical Society. He was a self-taught photographer, focusing in portraits, landscape, and nature photos. Photography was his passion.
Bob was kind hearted and generous, and always willing to help. He is missed dearly by those whose hearts he touched. "Stay Warm and Dry"
Calling hours will be held at Holmes-Watkins Funeral Home Wednesday, December 29, 2021 at 10:00 AM with services to follow at 11:00 AM, Burial to follow at Hillstown Road Veteran Cemetery in Manchester, CT.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Bob's memory to The Sierra Club or National Parks.
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