MADISON-Jeanne Fogel Hecht died on March 24, 2020 at the age of 94. She was preceded in death by her loving husband Leon Jr. and her grandson William Simmons. Jeanne is survived by her two children, Elizabeth and Leon III. She had 2 sisters, Helen Soiref and Florence Braun. Her mother died when Jeanne was 4, so Jeanne and her sister, Helen, were raised in foster care in Omaha, Nebraska. Jeanne moved to New Orleans at 17 to live with Florence. She got a job as a legal secretary and then later travelled to New York City doing the same. After the war, she met Leon in New Orleans. The two married in 1950 and then moved to Reserve, LA. They settled in Stamford, Connecticut for the next 60 years before moving to Madison, WI in 2010.
Jeanne's passion was art. She studied watercolors, oils, and sculpture and painted throughout her life. She and Leon were part founders of the Jewish reform Temple in Stamford and as a child of Russian immigrants, she felt strongly about her Jewish identity. She was also passionate about civil rights and played an active role in passing the first fair housing legislation in Connecticut in the 1960's. Well into her 90's, Liz and Jeanne joined other women in the streets of Madison for the National Women's Day March.
Jeanne and Leon loved to travel. After Leon's retirement, they spent the winter months visiting East Asia. They fell in love with Thailand where they began a Thai silk import business. Jeanne felt at home immersed in Thai art and culture, and of course, Thai cooking.
Jeanne saw beauty in the people around her and created beauty with color and shape wherever she lived. All who knew Jeanne found her to be kind and caring. Even as Alzheimer's took its toll, caregivers described her as a "spitfire". At the same time, she could always be found blowing kisses to those she admired.
Memorials can be made to the Second Harvest Food Bank at 2802 Dairy Drive, Madison, WI 53718 or secondharvestmadison.org.
Private services will be held at a future time.
Informed Choice Funeral & Cremation Alternative
3325 E. Washington Ave.
Madison, WI 53704
May Jeanne's beautiful soul rest in peace
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