In Memory

Kay Eaton (Hettinger) - Class Of 1952

Kay Eaton (Hettinger)

Helen Kay Hettinger

JUNE 2, 1934 – OCTOBER 12, 2021

Obituary of Helen Kay Hettinger

Kay Hettinger passed away on Tuesday, October 12, 2021, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Helen Kay Eaton, always known as Kay, was born June 2, 1934, in Boulder City, Nevada to Bruce and Mary Eaton. She graduated from Boulder City High School. She then attended the University of Nevada in Reno as a Harold’s Club Scholar, receiving a bachelor’s degree in education. In 1956, she married James Roderic Hettinger of Fallon, Nevada. They were married at the Grace Community Church in Boulder City, and one year later were sealed for time and all eternity in the Salt Lake City Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Kay and Jim moved from Wells, Nevada to Las Vegas, Nevada; to Cypress, California; to Placentia California; to Petersburg, Illinois; to Marion, Ohio; then back to Southern California before finally settling down in their native Nevada in 1987. Kay taught school for several years, but mostly devoted her life to her family and dear friends.

Kay is preceded in death by her husband, Jim, and her daughter, Diane Kay. While spending every moment serving others, she has looked forward, with joyful anticipation, to reunions on the other side. She is survived by her four sons: Glen, his children Marisa, Daniel, and Jared (Socorro, their mother); Kyle (Barbara), their children Andrew, Reid, Mary Claire, Madi, and Sam; John (Lisa), their children Holland, Graham, and Quincey; and Mark (Toni), their children Chris, Sarah, Adam, Blake, and Josh. There are also six great-grandchildren.

Kay was a generous, caring individual who touched the lives of countless individuals. She was both brilliant and humble. She served faithfully and lovingly in many capacities at church and in the community. Her devotion to her Savior was evident in the way she lived her life. She was always available to teach, listen, comfort, and provide an endless array of homemade goodies. Kay enjoyed life. Her home was enthusiastically festooned to celebrate every season of the year, and her garden was a work of art. Her greatest joy was found in spending time with her family and friends. Her energy, devotion, and love will be greatly missed. 

A memorial service will be held at 10:00 a.m. at the LDS Church on 7670 S. Bruce St, Las Vegas, NV 89123. Kay will be buried at the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Hettinger family.


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10/12/21 06:59 PM #1    

Jim Widner (1958)

Some of the delightful, historical memos Kay wrote to me ..  Jim Widner , class of 1958

Kay Hettinger

Wed, Sep 29, 2:34 PM (13 days ago)
to me
When I taught fourth grade in Petersburg, Illinois, my classroom was directly above the school cafeteria kitchen.  Those dear ladies cooked everything from scratch, hot rolls, fresh bread, cookies, turkey, lasagna, meat loaf.  As they began cooking each day my room would begin to fill with those delicious aromas resulting from their thoughtful efforts.  My students and I would find our mouths watering by 11:00 and when lunch hour finally arrived the kids could hardly move out of the classroom quickly enough to satisfy their growing hunger for those wonderful meals. 

  I typically did not go down for lunch unless it was to buy a hot roll or two, loaded with butter and jam, or when they had roasted a turkey and made stuffing.  I stayed in my room and worked and ate my sandwich and apple and had a pity party.  The kids loved their lunches and the lunch ladies.

  When I read the menus for the schools in that small rural town today, I just sign and think how sad that they, too have succumbed to frozen chicken patties, canned peas, tater tots and cook’s surprise.  I think I would be eating paste again.  (I thought that white creamy paste was quite tasty when I was a child, or else why else would I lick my fingers after doing a paste project?)

10/12/21 07:01 PM #2    

Jim Widner (1958)

another one from Kay  :

Kay Hettinger

Thu, Aug 19, 12:34 PM
to me
  Thanks, Jim.  Most interesting.  I had many friends at U of N wo were from Winnemucca and they all had some much in common with us Boulder City small town kids.  When Jim and I lived in Wells, we made the trip across Northern Nevada a couple of times a year to visit his family in Fallon, and so always a quick drive through Winnemucca.  One year, when we did not feel pressed for time, we went up and down each of the streets and alleys in the small community.  It was most entertaining. 

  We did that same town exploration experience on one of our many trips between Las Vegas and Fallon/Reno.  We stopped at every historical marker and quite literally went up and down each street in each town along the way.  It was a long, but most enjoyable trip.  Of course, many of the places had only one street beyond each side of the highway, but nonetheless we took each of those streets.  Tonopah and Goldfield were really interesting. 

  Another note on the naming of towns.  The UPRR had some influence in that according to one of my U of N history professors.  He insisted that the RR personnel pushed for the shortest names to be adopted for each of their stops.  Saved on paint on the signs they had to put in!   I think I believe him given the number of 4 and 5 letter town names along the railroad route.

  As always, thanks for including me in the link.  You know I love this stuff. 

Kay Hettinger   Another note!!!!!

Thu, Sep 16, 12:20 PM
to me
  I have been to Cathedral Gorge, and Kershaw Ryan and they are wonderful.  In fact, we were camping at Cathedral Gorge when my husband got a call that Allis Chalmers was transferring us to Southern California from Las Vegas.

  We went home, put our home on the market and went house hunting in Orange County.  We bought a home in Cypress just down the way from the new Community College.  We were there for two years before moving to Placentia.  Grand memories.

  I appreciated the reunion article you posted on the BCHS page.  Must admit I got a little teary-eyed as I read the last few sentences…knowing it would be the last time to see dear friends.  I know that is my status, and am ever so grateful that there are other ways to stay in touch. 

  Thanks for keeping me up to speed and for sharing such interesting and beautiful bits of information.   I do look forward to seeing your name on the FROM line of my emails.  Know it will always be something worthwhile.

 Have a super day!

Another insightful note from Kay

Kay Hettinger

Mar 25, 2021, 7:37 PM
to me

  Indeed, I do also like!  Familiar faces and the oh so 50’s look.  Love it all.

I had a thoughtful phone conversation this afternoon with Floy Daun Atkin Mackay, Roy’s sister this afternoon and also spoke with Dorothy Kine Rants this week.  There is just nothing like the old, forever friends.  Seeing you and David together speaks to the importance of those friendships.  There are not enough of the old gang around any more so we just need to treasure those who are. 

  Judy Bilderback Roach and I had a conversation many years ago after a little get together with BHS friends and we pondered on why it was that those friendships were and remain so close and we decided (wisely, I am sure you will agree) was that all our parents came to Boulder during severe economic times, left behind friends and family and basically began new lives in Boulder City.  The new friends they made, who came from all over the country but under similar circumstances, in time became their family as well as their community.  They provided new roots to replace those t hat had been left behind.  Might mention also, that they all seemed to be instilled with the same work ethic and determination.  They would do the most difficult of jobs if it meant they could take care of their little families.  I think we all learned well form them, don’t you?

  Anyway, seeing you and David on those steps was terrific.  How brilliant that you two thought to replicate the photo after 50 years.  Gotta give you lots of credit for that.

  My sons so enjoyed the photos of Bruce Eaton and Eaton field.  They are real fans of all you share.

10/14/21 02:24 PM #3    

Jim Widner (1958)

ONE more ..  Here is an entry from Kay's profile on the BCHS website  ..  it captures the heart of growning up in BC  and I thought you would all enjoy it.   Jim

School Story:

Several years I wrote a short biography of my younger years for my children and grandchildren, "Growing Up in Boulder City." It is filled with my memories from my birth day in Las Vegas til my graduation in 1952 from BCHS. As I concluded that part of my memoir, I thought how very blessed I was to grow up in such a unique small town.
We were for the most part one big extended family. When we went to school we were taught by friends of the family. When we went to Church we were surrounded by family friends. Civic leaders, youth leaders, coaches were our neighbors. I always felt like I was surrounded by people who really cared about me and were willing to nurture and support me - and willing to correct me when that was needed.
I was given a great foundation upon which to build. I think I built well.
Thanks, Boulder City and BCHS.

10/17/21 09:11 AM #4    

Jim Widner (1958)

From Facebook posting  10/12/2021   ..  More info to follow.  Jim W.

11/04/21 06:05 AM #5    

Jim Widner (1958)

Kay Eaton Hettinger

November 1 at 6:11 PM  · 

Dear Friends and Family - this is Kay's youngest son, Mark. I just wanted to express the family's heartfelt gratitude for all of the flowers, messages, phone calls, cards, letters, and charitable donations that have been received from you - the wonderful people in Kay's life. We have shed a lot of tears as we have read the stories of how she made a difference in each of your lives. Thank you for mourning with us and for celebrating Kay, Mom, Grandma Hett with us. We are so grateful that this angel graced our lives. And we are grateful for each of you 🥰

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