MISSOULA ~ Eric Warren Hefty, a beloved husband, father, grandfather, and brother, left this world on Saturday, January 15. He was 77 years old.
Born in Great Falls, Montana, in 1944, Eric spent most of his working life in Missoula, Montana, where he raised three children with his wife Cheryl, to whom he was married and devoted for 53 years. Eric was founder and principal of Eric Hefty & Associates, an award-winning design firm he led for nearly 50 years. After graduating from Missoula County High School in 1962, Eric attended Montana State University in Bozeman, where he studied architecture, was track “Man of the Year” and held several university and conference hurdle records, and was a member of the ΣΑΕ fraternity.
It was at MSU that he also met his future wife, Cheryl. Upon graduation they moved to the San Francisco Bay area where Eric apprenticed with what would become leading firms in the region. Eric and Cheryl always regarded with fondness their time in that unique ‘60s cultural milieu and epoch. After moving back to Missoula in 1973, Eric was for many years a board member at Valley Christian School and an elder at the Missoula Alliance Church.
Eric was passionate about western Montana and the beauty of the natural world. The Missoula Valley is filled with buildings that manifest his spirit and talent. His last and signature project was The Corner at the intersection of Higgins and Brooks, a work for which he was simultaneously architect, construction manager, and developer. He brought the project to completion against enormous odds, surpassed only by the delight he took in the project.
Eric found great joy in design. It was the language he spoke – and it would be impossible to understand him without understanding his work. It would also be impossible to share the joy he felt when immersed in the creative process, without recognizing that he experienced that joy as praise to God and as profound respect for the unspeakable wonder of His creation.
Eric was a man of faith and great personal and professional integrity. He was humble, kind, generous, lighthearted, funny, forgiving, and selfless. He was graced with rare and quiet wisdom gleaned from daily contemplation of Scripture, attention to natural beauty, and a simple love of God. His family is forever grateful for everything he was and everything he has given us.
He is survived by his wife, Cheryl; son Nels, of Los Angeles; son Karl, daughter-in-law Victoria and their children Katelle and Vita of Ottawa, Canada; daughter, Erica, son-in-law Rich, and their children Soren, Arlen, and Elsie, of Hamilton, Montana; his sister Gwen Sebestin and her son Damon, of Missoula; and his brother Marc, of Henderson, Nevada.
A celebration-of-life service will be held at 11:00 am on Monday, January 24, at Missoula Alliance Church. Memorials can be made to the Missoula Alliance Church benevolent fund.
Arrangements are under the care of Sunset Memorial Funeral Home in Missoula.