Dr. Wilmer G Heceta was born a "leap-year" baby in the Philippines. After graduating from Silliman University in the Philppines with high honors, he studied medicine at the University of th East Ramon Magsaysay Memorical Center (UERMMMC), graduating cum laude.
Having met his wife, Dr. Estherbelle A. Heceta, in college, they married on the 5th of April 1962 and moved to Youngstown, OH to take up medical residencies - him in general surgery and her in anesthesia. Their 2 older daughters were born in Youngstown.
They moved back to the Philippines to practice medicine and after their 3rd daughter was born, also with a heart condition, Wilmer decided to take up an additional surgical specialty - cardiovascular and thoracic to understand any heart issues his daughters might encounter.
The family returned to the United States to complete that residency at the University of TN in Memphis, after which they settled in Wheeling, WV.
Years past, with Wilmer serving as Medical Director of the Bellaire Medical Foundation and as Chief of Surgery and Chief of Staff at the Bellaire City Hospital in Bellaire, OH.
Daughters grew up. Elgine married Jack and have 3 kids - Danielle, Ian and Brooke. Wuela married Doug and had 2 children - Tyson and Braedyn. With Wuela's second marriage to Dave, 2 more grandchildren joined the family - Dalton and Dylan. Daughter Cris focused on career.
Wilmer was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer with metastasis to the bones and lymph nodes in April 2011. His one treatment was successful in address the cancer, but it left him very weak, so no further treatments were attempted. This allowed his metastasis to cause him a great deal of pain.
After moving to Orlando to live with their daughter Cris in September 2011, Wilmer entered hospice in December. After 2 weeks of crisis care in January 2012, Wilmer left his painful life on earth at 2:55 am on Monday, the 23rd of January 2012.
Wilmer is remembered by many as a music-loving, funny (sometimes inappropriately so), hard-working, giving person whose concern was always the security of his family and helping others.
One of his biggest endeavors was to save his medical school alma mater from closing by founding the 333 Endowment Fund that has since been named in his honor. The idea was for alumni to pledge $333 per year for 3 years for a total of $1,000. It worked - the school is stronger than ever and the fund is now known as the Wilmer Heceta 333 Endowment Fund.