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William A. Hehs

December 24, 1933 December 2, 2021
William A. Hehs
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Obituary for William A. Hehs

William Akos Hehs, longtime resident of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, died December 2, 2021. He was 87 years old. William was born on December 24, 1933 in Székesfehérvár, Hungary, to Ákos (Allen) B. Hehs and Edith Toth. Bill’s family (parents and sisters) fled worn-torn Hungary in early 1945, slowly migrating west through the countryside until settling in Salzburg, Austria in September 1945. They immigrated to the United States from Salzburg in 1949.

Though their immigration was sponsored by a potato farmer in Saginaw, Michigan, it was to the west side of Cleveland, Ohio, that they moved. Bill began as a junior at West Lake High School, speaking no English. Determined to fit in, Bill picked up English, losing all semblance of an accent, and lettered in both football and baseball, graduating in 1951.

Bill followed in his father’s footsteps by studying to become a mechanical engineer, graduating from Case Institute of Technology (now Case Western Reserve University) in 1955.

From November 1955 through August 1959 Bill served in the navy, becoming a Naval Aviator in June 1957. He regaled his family with stories of his adventures in the Navy. He remained active in the reserves until finally giving all his time to his wife and growing family.

After leaving the navy, Bill began working for General Motors Military Vehicle Operations (MVO) in the Tank Division, which brought him from Cleveland, Ohio to Birmingham, Michigan. Bill spent 25 years working at MVO before giving GM another 15 years in Engineering, Robotics, Training, and the Knowledge Center. Bill retired from GM in June 2001, but not before making a business trip around the world to Australia and Japan.

Together with his wife, Sue, Bill raised four children in Birmingham. Their children attended St. Regis, Marian, and Brother Rice, and they have been members of St. Regis Parish for over 50 years. Bill was active in the scouts with his sons and could be seen doing things like building Field Day floats for his daughter.

Weekends were spent sailing on Cass Lake and then in the 1980 the family began traveling up north to Torch Lake. He shared his passion for sailing with his children. At the cottage on Torch Lake, Bill would spend first his weekends and then whole summers, after retirement, on the Lake. His hands were never idle, as he was always bound to be building something.

Though an automotive engineer by profession, Bill used his knowledge and talent to build everything from wooden toys to permanently standing structures. When asked how he managed to get this roof on or that wall standing, he’d simply say, “if the Egyptians could do it, so could he.”

For the past 20 years, Bill could be found participating in the lives his four precious grandchildren. He was the best grandpa ever, affectionately known as “grand-dad-dog. Each grandchild was made to feel special. Bill was important in their lives. He could be seen pushing them in the “pink buggy” up and down the street. He took them on “adventures” from Amtrack trains rides and SEMTA bus rides to destinations like the bookstore. He attended all their school activities, and especially liked loved going to Grandparent’s Day, where he was able to share some of his life’s stories with their classmates. As the grand kids got older, he was able to share his fondness for cooking and grilling with them.

He is remembered for the twinkle in his eye and the somewhat mischievous grin on his face. He made friends easily, particularly in the places which he frequented regularly, like Kroger or Trader Joe’s. He loved his “night cap” of brandy and diet caffeine free coke. Bill will be remembered as a kind, giving, intelligent man, and will be missed dearly.

William is survived by his beloved wife, Sue and his loving children, Judy Hehs, Matthew Hehs, and Christa (Sean) Moran. He is also survived by his cherished grandchildren, Hannah Grace, Logan, Colin, and Mason Moran, and his dear sister, Edith Dus. William is preceded in death by his son, Tommy and his sister, Mo Baker.

Visitation will be held at Lynch & Sons Funeral Home 1368 N. Crooks Road, Clawson, Michigan 48017 on Wednesday, December 8, 2021 from 4-7pm. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Regis Catholic Church 3695 Lincoln Road, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48301 on Thursday, December 9, 2021 at 11:30am. Friends may visit at church beginning at 11am.

Memorials appreciated to the Charity of Donor’s Choice.

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