Steven Israel Hekler MOUNT HOLLY — Steven Israel Hekler, 59, passed away on July 5, 2020, following a year-long battle with cancer. The son of Abraham and Janina Hekler who immigrated to the United States from Poland in 1950, he was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and raised in Newton. He graduated from Newton High School and began his lifelong career in the seafood business at Captain Marden’s in Waltham, Massachusetts. He leaves behind his wife of 28 years, Darrla Hekler; his children, Darren Bailey and fiancée Caitlyn Laskevich of Monmouth, Maine, Crystalyn Dearmin and partner Robert Jackson of West Rutland, Stephanie and Mathew Fassett Jr. and Joshua Hekler of Mount Holly. Steve was the devoted grandfather to nine grandchildren, Damion, Jace, Piper, Taylor, Dakota, Oliver, Aloral, Jasper and Alistair. Steven was the youngest of three children and leaves behind his bother, Erwin Hekler of Simsbury, Connecticut, and his sister, Liba Furhman of Gaylordsville, Connecticut. Steve had a love of life and a clever wit that charmed everyone he met. He was devoted to his family and friends. A self-taught “chef,” he loved to host family meals and Thanksgiving dinners and was always available to help with family occasions. He loved his home and his land, dubbed Kosher Mountain. He would spend hours happily mowing his nine-hole golf course, caring for his pond and in winters, grooming snowmobile trails for his children to enjoy. Annual journeys to the ocean – Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester, Massachusetts, or the Maine seashore with his family – brought him immense pleasure and was his favorite indulgence. An avid musician with 14 guitars, Steve’s favorite songs were anything by the Beatles. He played local venues with several bands over the years – and was always part of community events and occasions. He was a regular at the Monday night Folk Club gatherings. A sports fan who loved any team from Boston, he enjoyed going to games at Fenway Park and rooted for the Celtics. He also loved his kosher corn beef, pastrami and pickles – and never turned down a bowl of chicken soup with Matzoh balls. Steve spent the bulk of his adult life working for Black River Produce. A 25-year employee, he joined the company after several years in the restaurant business. He was admired by his colleagues for his vast knowledge and understanding of the fish industry and he cooked the best crab cakes ever! His last year was a long journey battling cancer. Throughout the entire battle, Steve never wavered in his hope. He was brave and focused on living life and being surrounded by family and friends. He is now at peace. Steve touched many lives and left each one happier and better for knowing him. All are grateful to have known him. May the memories and love that was shared with him serve for a blessing in his name. A graveside service for family and close friends will be held on Thursday, July 9, at 1 p.m. in Maple Grove Cemetery, Route 140 in East Wallingford. Masks and social distancing will be enforced. Steven will be laid to rest in peace with a view of his beloved Kosher Mountain. Memorial contributions in his memory, may be made to the Mt Holly Volunteer Fire Dept./Rescue Squad, 26 School St., Mt Holly, VT 05758; The Foley Cancer Center, 160 Allen St., Rutland, VT 05701 or to the Maple Grove Cemetery Assoc., c/o David Seward, 4180 Sugar Hill Rd., East Wallingford, VT 05742. Funeral arrangements are by Tossing Funeral Home.

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I didn't know Steve all that well, but he was always kind, helpful, and what a great musician! I'm from Ohio and travel up your way to play with some pals we call Bunty Station. It was always great to catch up with Steve, and he'll be missed by all of us. May you find comfort, hope, and peace, and, Steve, I know you're jamming with John and George right about now. Love to all of my Vermont friends.

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