Cover photo for Laura Fredricka Heeschen's Obituary
Laura Fredricka Heeschen Profile Photo

Laura Fredricka Heeschen

March 8, 1958 — June 25, 2022

Laura Fredricka Heeschen

Laura Fredricka, 64, passed away at her home in Meadville, PA surrounded by family and friends on Saturday, June 25, 2022, from complications related to Multiple Sclerosis, a disease that she resisted for more than 25 years.

Laura was born in Meadville, PA on March 8, 1958 to Carl F. and Marie L. Heeschen. She was the youngest of five children.

Laura graduated from Meadville High School in 1976, where she excelled academically, ran track, and was a starting fullback on the high school’s first soccer team, which was coed at the time. While taking a high school world literature class, she met her future husband, Brian J. Hill. Their first date was an Arlo Guthrie concert at Allegheny College in February 1976. From that time forward the couple was inseparable, celebrating the date of the concert as their anniversary for the next 46 years.

Laura graduated from Allegheny College with a B.A. in Art. After college she had a varied and interesting career, working in two photography shops/studios, including Van Tuil Photo in Meadville, assisting Allegheny College in its library and as an admissions counselor for potential students, and directing the Rolls Royce Museum in Mechanicsburg, PA. She found most rewarding, however, her years as the ecotour program manager for the French Creek Project, where she informed thousands of kayakers and canoeists about the natural and human history of French Creek in northwestern Pennsylvania, while assisting them in their efforts to paddle the creek. Laura was an accomplished photographer, painter, calligrapher, and muralist. She completed three stunning murals in Meadville – at the Meadville Market House, on the back of the former Kerr’s Jewelry Store on Market Square, and, most notably, a four-thousand square foot mural on the former Meadville Coca Cola Bottling building on North Street. Her depiction of a vending machine as part of that mural was so realistic that people tried to put quarters in the imaginary slot. Laura carried her artistic sensibility to her home in Pittsburgh, which she transformed from an ordinary, white-walled, serviceable dwelling to a vivid and welcoming home whose bright kitchen produced many meals she shared with friends and acquaintances. The yard and garden also benefitted from her dedication to landscaping with shape, color, and scent. Likewise, the family home she shared with her sister and Brian in Meadville bore the stamp of her flair for color and design, from patio planter combinations to unique light fixtures to the intricate tiling on the bathroom floors, each a work of art. Laura lent her eye and energy to public projects as well. She served as member of the Meadville Beautification Committee, assisted the Meadville Council on the Arts, and helped to manage the gardens at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Diamond Park, where she was a member for more than 50 years. Laura traveled extensively with her husband, family, and friends as she hiked, biked, canoed, rode horses, and Nordic skied in various parts of the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia. Most recently, she and her husband explored the backroads and communities of northwest Pennsylvania in her accessible van. Her last outing was in her electric wheelchair on the abandoned road at Woodcock Lake, where she enjoyed listening to spring peepers, seeing birds, smelling wildflowers, and reveling in the natural beauty of Crawford County. Ms. Heeschen was an unabashed feminist, active in political campaigns and supporting candidates from her early teen years to recently providing support for Lt. Governor John Fetterman’s bid for the U.S. Senate. She was troubled deeply by the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capital by those who reject the underlying laws of the Republic. Her heart went out to the police officers and families, who were impacted by, or later died because of their courageous effort to defend the Capital and the constitutional principles and processes of our American democracy. Laura enjoyed cooking, gardening, and entertaining, particularly in Meadville at the home where she grew up and lived until her passing. She took pleasure in providing a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner for friends and family, hosting a soiree on the back patio under the apple and maple trees among a wide variety of flowers, and providing libations to guests around the family pool each summer.

Laura was preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by her husband, Brian J. Hill, her daughter Heather Hill and granddaughter Bridget, both of Tampa, FL, four siblings – Conrad Heeschen (Pamela Prodan) of Wilton, ME; Judith Heeschen (Bingley) of Meadville, PA; Anthony Heeschen (Petra Bergman) of Portland, ME; and Paula Heeschen (Arthur Zulick) of Stroudsburg, PA --as well as many nieces, nephews, grand nieces, and grand nephews, who live across the U.S. from Portland, ME to Los Angeles, CA and everywhere in between. Throughout her life, she took great pleasure in visiting and hosting her family.

Her family requests that, if you wish to donate in Laura’s memory, to consider the Meadville Council on the Arts, the French Creek Valley Conservancy, Women Services, Inc. of Crawford County, or the Unitarian Universalist Church in Meadville.

Family and friends are invited to attend a Memorial Service at 1 PM on Saturday, October 8, 2022, at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 346 Chestnut St., Meadville.


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Past Services

A Memorial Service

Saturday, October 8, 2022

Starts at 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

Unitarian Universalist Church

346 Chestnut Street, Meadville, PA 16335

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