Dan Hecox
Dan Hecox, owner of Hecox Construction in York, NE, was a beloved and larger-than-life member of the tile industry. TileLetter celebrate his work, life, and legacy.

By Lesley Goddin, Editor
Entering construction after his time at Southeast Community College, he did general construction for years before forming his company Custom Showers and Tile of Nebraska. He was a devoted member of NTCA, a Certified Tile Installer (CTI) and a CTEF Evaluator. He had great enthusiasm for the trade, and was always willing to share what he knew with other contractors and with designers, students and those interested in tile. This writer had the opportunity to work with him on a few stories in recent years, and he was always generous with his information and his time, positive and upbeat, and excited to share. Mike Sima, of Midtown Tile in Omaha, NE, said, “He came to Omaha very often to meet up with our local group. He would talk to everyone about the importance of installing tile properly and following the TCNA Handbook and manufacturer’s recommendations. He evaluated a lot of CTI tests around here – I think all of them to be exact. He went out of his way to help anyone who needed it.” His passion for tile was only matched by his passion for his faith. Sima added, “He did love his church...A LOT!! He posted almost weekly what the message was that Sunday at service.” Sima said he also went Nicaragua for a mission trip and shared how it really changed him for the better. “He was a true friend to many,” Sima said. He also had great passion for the Huskers and was a lifelong fan. Jerald (Dan) Hecox was born September 5, 1968, and left this earth after a gallant battle with cancer on September 21, 2020.
His brief obituary says he is survived by father Jerry (Beverly) Hecox, mother Miriam Peterson, siblings Tammy Peterson, Angela Hecox (Chris Korte), Scott (Sarah) Hecox, niece Kemper, nephew Lake, and family and friends. He is preceded in death by his other father Chuck Peterson, and nephew AJ Hecox. Memorials are requested to the Benevolent Fund of Lincoln Berean Church at 6400 S 70th St, Lincoln, NE 68516 and My Bridge Radio at PO Box 30345, Lincoln, NE 68503 for the benefit of My Bridge to the Nations.
Bart Bettiga, NTCA Executive Director, said, “As we developed the Certified Tile Installer test at CTEF, Dan Hecox quickly became one of the leaders of the program. A Certified Tile Installer himself who saw the value of the test, Dan emerged as an outspoken proponent of the program. And he backed up his comments by doing the work that was necessary to make an impact in his region.
Dan Hecox
“Dan made a significant impact by promoting the CTI test throughout the Midwest, and was willing to travel anywhere to evaluate those willing to try to better themselves and earn certification,” Bettiga added. “Perhaps even more importantly, Dan looked at these tests as opportunities to connect with fellow installers, and shared his experience with them. Whether they passed or failed, installers felt that the experience was extremely positive when Dan was involved.  
“Finally, on a personal level, I will miss the many phone calls that I had with Dan as he would share his passion for this program, his thoughts on how we could further develop it at a grass roots level, and his personal philosophy related to the sharing of his strong faith,” Bettiga said.
Incoming NTCA president Martin Brookes, of Heritage Marble and Tile, Mill Valley, Calif., added, “Dan Hecox will always be in my memory, the hardworking, selfless Nebraskan whose passion for the industry brought a smile to my face and many others. His commitment to training and education and his willingness to help anyone that he came across – a man who would always be upbeat with a smile on his face.
“I posted a picture on Facebook which captured Dan in full CTEF Evaluator gear,” Brookes added. “I took the photo after Dan gained access to the show prior to opening to win a prize at a vendor’s booth. I called him out on the early access – but then he hunted me down and offered me the prize. I laughed and took the photo as we both joked and enjoyed each other’s sense of humor. This was who Dan was – thinking of others before himself. He will be dearly missed. Rest in peace, tile brother.”
Almost everyone in the tile industry has a story about Dan. But one of the most eloquent was this piece authored by Mark Heinlein, NTCA Training Director, which sums up the many ways Dan has impacted the lives of many in our industry.
Did you know Dan Hecox? I remember when I first met him.

He was the NTCA Ambassador for Nebraska. I had an NTCA workshop scheduled in La Vista, so I called him up to discuss the program and ask for his support and to let everyone know about it. We made a plan to meet for lunch to get acquainted.
That was March 9, 2016. After lunch (the first of many future meals we’d have together), Dan and I drove to the distributor where we spoke with the manager and began setting up the program. This was the day I learned how strong, fast and friendly Dan Hecox was. If you know me, I’m not the kind of guy who enjoys watching the grass grow, but I simply could not keep up with Dan getting things out of the van, in place and ready to roll, all the while telling me about himself and about tile installations and tile things and then other things about tile and things about Nebraska and his dog. If you knew Dan, you know what I mean and that I was exhausted at the end of the night.
If you knew Dan, you know he got hungry. He was never shy about ordering the most amazing entree and trying the fanciest cocktail and most splendid dessert on the menu. Or the biggest stack of pancakes, a couple of eggs and sausage. And a side of bacon and hash browns. And a refill on that large OJ. He knew a lot about the finest Nebraska-raised steaks. I will miss marveling at what he might order.
If you knew Dan, you know that he was the most reliable person ever to keep in touch with you.  And he had dozens and hundreds of friends he kept in contact with.
If you knew Dan, you know that he would work alongside you until the wee hours of the morning to get the last mockup built before the show opened.
If you knew Dan, you know he was a terrific carpenter. He taught me a lot of tricks about carpentry tools and construction.
If you knew Dan, you know he loved to create beautiful tile installations and was very capable of doing so – always achieving ANSI standards and following TCNA Handbook methods and manufacturer instructions. If you knew Dan, you know he was just a little tiny bit passionate about being a Ceramic Tile Education Foundation Certified Tile Installer (CTEF CTI) and CTEF CTI Evaluator.
If you knew Dan, you know he loved to share his expansive knowledge of tile and wanted to improve his trade and help his fellow craftspersons succeed. He wanted young people to experience the joy of being a part of creating tile masterpieces.
If you knew Dan, you know he was just a little territorial about his beloved Nebraska stomping grounds.
If you knew Dan, you know he was always up for a late night of fun then always there for an early morning of work.
If you knew Dan, you know he loved to fly. And he loved his dog. And he loved his family and his friends. If you knew Dan, you know he sometimes needed a ride.
If you knew Dan, you know he was very interesting and interested in everything and everybody. And you know he was a little quirky.
If you knew Dan, you know he always had your back and never asked for anything in return. Except for your friendship. And a smile.
If you knew Dan, you know he could never do enough for you.
If you knew Dan, you know he was stoic to the very end.
I am very glad I knew Dan.
I am sure you are too.
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