Cover photo for Harry Hegna's Obituary
Harry Hegna Profile Photo
1935 Harry 2023

Harry Hegna

December 28, 1935 — April 4, 2023

Madison

While our hearts may be broken, shouts of joy welcomed Harry Robert Hegna home on April 4, 2023, at the age of 87.

And joy is exactly what Harry got out of life.

One of his greatest joys was his wife of 63 years, Nancy (nee Keppler), whom he married on June 13, 1959. They built a lifetime of love and happiness – and nothing brought Harry more happiness than his family.

He adored their daughter Heidi, whom he always described with a smile as “one special lady.” Together with her husband Vince Iaquinta, they blessed Harry & Nancy with grandson Jacob, granddaughter Rachel, and grandson Connor, who, with his wife Jackie, brought even more joy through great-granddaughter Eden.

Harry had the utmost respect and admiration for their son Kirk, saying – and truly meaning – “I have the best son you could ask for.” Together with his wife Barb, they blessed Harry & Nancy with granddaughter Kristin (Andy Stoll) and grandson Ryan.

Speaking of family, Harry is the youngest of three boys: Tom, Dick and Harry. And no, you can’t make that up. They were born to Roy and Ruby Hegna, with Harry joining the party on December 28, 1935. Harry loved his brothers and enjoyed a close relationship with their families – Tom and his wife Mary, and their four daughters, Terry (Dave), Kathy (Paul), Wendy (Jeff), and Laury (David) – along with his brother Richard (Dick) and wife Rosene, and their daughter Karin (Mike).

Harry’s joy in life wasn’t contained to his family. He enjoyed a successful career in the telecommunications industry, starting at General Tel in Madison. He spent most of his career at Northwest Telephone in Tomah and DeForest, holding a variety of positions before retiring from there as General Manager. He later served as a Lobbyist for the Wisconsin State Telephone Association.

Undoubtedly, what Harry enjoyed most during his career came from the many friendships he formed. In fact, one of Harry’s greatest gifts was finding a connection with anyone he met! Within minutes, through his questions and genuine interest in others, he could discover someone you both knew, or uncover a shared experience.

This wasn’t surprising, given the countless friendships he had and the wide variety of activities he enjoyed.

Harry & Nancy made lifelong friends wherever they lived – whether it was in Madison, Wausau, Sun Prairie, Tomah, DeForest or back in Madison. They were also involved in their Lutheran church communities, including Gloria Dei in Tomah and Norway Grove in DeForest, and most recently at St. Luke’s in Middleton.

Together they found great joy playing countless games of bridge, watching Badgers basketball games, dancing, and attending and hosting parties … lots of parties! They loved to entertain, and Harry was the consummate host, always ready with your favorite drink in hand when you walked in the door.

He also loved to golf, whether near home or on one of his many golfing trips with Kirk. And with Heidi he could play cards for hours if not days – so he did.

Whether it was with family or friends, he and Nancy found every opportunity to celebrate. Fittingly, their most recent celebration was on Valentine’s Day 2023, when they renewed their wedding vows at Vista West, surrounded by family. In true Harry & Nancy fashion, they capped off the evening with a spin on the dance floor.

Harry also served our country for two years with the US Army stationed in Germany in the early 1950’s.

Finally, one can’t remember Harry without hearing his laughter, and you can’t hear the Norwegian phrase “Uff Da” without thinking of him. You are also fortunate if you’ve been among us to hear his loud whistle as he gathered everyone together to sing “Johnny Appleseed,” capping it off by belting out “HEY!”

We are all richer for having known Harry. Because of the example he set, we are strong in faith, quick to laugh, and even quicker to hug. Harry approached everyone he met with arms wide open – whether it was for the first time or a lifetime.

And now that Harry has been called home, it’s his turn to be embraced with arms wide open. We look forward to the next time we see you, dear friend, and can’t wait to be wrapped up in that Harry-sized hug.

A memorial service will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 12, 2023 at the Cress Center, 6021 University Avenue, Madison. The visitation will be from 3 p.m. until the time of service. Food and refreshments will follow.

We would like to thank the “Flock of Angels” at Vista West for their wonderful care.

Please note: Memorials to the Alzheimer's and Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin (608-232-3400) are no longer being accepted. We apologize for the inconvenience, and instead, suggest memorials in Harry’s name to:

Alzheimer’s Association – Wisconsin Chapter

Donate by Check: Send to 4600 American Parkway, #103, Madison, WI 53718

Donate by Phone: Call 1-800-272-3900 (number for national organization but money will be distributed locally)

For more Info, visit Alz.org

Please share your memories here on Harry's tribute wall.

Cress Center

6021 University Ave. Madison

(608) 238-8406

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Harry Hegna, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

3:00 - 4:30 pm (Central time)

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Memorial Service

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Starts at 4:30 pm (Central time)

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