Cape Girardeau businessman and philanthropist Martin Hecht died Friday at his home in Palm Springs, California, surrounded by family, leaving a legacy of community leadership and generosity. In addition to running Hecht’s clothing store in downtown Cape Girardeau, Hecht also served for about a decade on Southeast Missouri State University’s board of regents and Southeast Hospital’s board of directors. Hecht bought the downtown business in 1946 from his father, Louis Hecht, who founded it in 1917. Owner of C. P. McGinty Jewelers Chuck McGinty says Hecht was a person to whom other merchants looked. He tells KZIM KSIM about his friend he’s known since they were Boy Scouts.
Hecht attended Cape Girardeau Central High School and later graduated from Southeast. His father was instrumental in the construction of the B’nai Israel Congregation synagogue that stood downtown, and Martin later helped in its preservation. He raised three children with his wife, LaVerne “Tootie” Hecht, to whom he was married for nearly 70 years.