Heidi Goebel died peacefully, surrounded by family on January 23, 2018 in Tucson, AZ. She was 86 years old. Her life was a rich and full journey, filled with adversity and adventure, shared with family and lots of friends, with rarely a boring moment, and powered daily by an indomitable spirit of tenacity, joy, gratitude, kindness, and lots of creative thrift.
Born into Nazi Germany in late 1931 to Robert and Klara Fechner, Heidi’s early years were marred with the strife and terror of living through a war. With younger sister Renate, Heidi and her mother had to flee Berlin, and later survived the bombing of Wuerzburg in March of 1945. The years just after the war were incredibly difficult, but Heidi endured.
After the war she worked in the American and British Army hospitals, became fluent in English, and finished High School. She struggled to keep up with her girlfriends in physical activities, always short of breath. She was diagnosed with a heart irregularity, but her appetite for life caused her to ignore doctor’s orders to rest and avoid stress. She would later discover that she suffered from a congenital heart defect, but it didn't slow her down until the last years of her life.
She met her first and only husband, George, while on a tour of Northern Italy led by him. They were married in 1954 and immigrated to the United States in 1955, finding sponsors and their first home in Sebring, Florida. Heidi disliked the rural setting and the sub tropical climate and convinced George to move to Tulsa just 6 months later, where all four of her children were born.
1965 brought Heidi and family to Midland, TX, where they would settle down, raise the children and become active members of St. Ann’s Church and the community at large. Heidi was a devoted Scout leader, worked part time as a medical secretary, and became close friends with many Midlanders from different walks of life.
At the age of 47, Heidi began a new journey to build a career in education. She attended Midland College and then Texas Tech while completing her studies to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish and a Master’s in German Literature. She would go on to teach Spanish and work in the language lab at Midland College until her retirement in 1999. She was a much beloved instructor and friend to all whom she taught.
After retiring, Heidi pursued a dream she’d had her whole life to live in the mountains, and moved to Northern California in the spring of 2000. She would live out the rest of her life as a resident of Mt. Shasta, CA being an active member of St. Anthony’s church and singing in the choir, hosting many visits from family and friends, enjoying the beautiful mountain views, her garden and continuing to travel and explore.
Heidi loved to travel, and was always planning or participating in every form of adventure, from Girl Scout trips all across the Southwestern US, family trips back to Germany to visit relatives, or off to new and different lands, including Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Chile, Paraguay, China, Russia, Canada and many more.
Heidi was an excellent and natural cook who delighted many a palette with a variety of common and not-so-common recipes. She prepared delicious versions of everything from chili rellenos and homemade pizza to spinach crepes and anything with a potato. Her creative drive to try new combinations earned her the beloved title The Casserole Queen, a dish cherished especially by her grandchildren. She loved a good sauce, was terribly fond of anything sweet, and always kept a special place in her gastronomical heart for German cooking.
She was an exceptional seamstress who made and repaired many clothes, especially in the early years, and later became a skilled quilter. She loved to garden and to be outside. She was always willing and interested to try new things and loved to be with younger people and find out what was new in the world. Heidi was a kind and generous host and gladly kept her home open to visitors. She loved to sing (even if she didn’t always hit the right notes!) and nothing made her happier than to hear family members sing and play music together.
Heidi made friends wherever she went. She had friends from all around the world, and from all walks of life. She would also befriend the lowly or the misfit and tried to help the downtrodden and less fortunate any way she could. She took her young children to bring meals to the elderly or disabled, and she volunteered often through the church and in every community she lived to give back and serve the needy.
Heidi is survived by her daughters Stefanie Goebel, and Claudia (Aria) Goebel, son Joseph Goebel, grandchildren Ben Barta, Mary Barta and Christofer Goebel, and great granddaughter Mena Barta. A memorial service will be held at St. Anthony’s Church in Mount Shasta CA on May 21, 2018. Donations may be sent to:
Soaring Eagle – http://give.soaringeagle.org/donate
Heifer - https://www.heifer.org