John Van Hecke, 56, long-time St. Anthony Park resident, died Jan. 17, 2020, after a battle with heart failure due to Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Uvonne Van Hecke (nee Jones). He is survived by his wife Betsy of 28 years, children Jack and Kate, father Richard Van Hecke and siblings JoNes and David (Tricia).

John was raised on a farm outside of Walnut Grove, where he was active in 4-H, theater and music. He graduated from Macalester College in St. Paul. John was active in politics, serving as district director for the late Congressman Bruce F. Vento and also in numerous state, local and federal campaigns.

Over the years, John also served on the St. Paul Charter Commission, his district council and many boards, including the Macalester Alumni Board. His final role was executive director of Minnesota 2020, a public policy think tank.

He loved his family, the intricacies of city council maneuvering, books, movies, history and culture. John loved music of all kinds, from opera to country to rap. He was an excellent and enthusiastic conversationalist. A memorial service was held Jan. 25 at St. Anthony Park United Church of Christ. Memorials preferred to Paul and Sheila Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Center at the University of Minnesota.

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