Schnider Funeral Home Great Falls Montana


Rocky Heckman
Rocky Heckman


Rocky Heckman

Jun 25, 1958 - Apr 22, 2017

Rocky Joe Heckman, 58, went home to be with the Lord early in the morning on April 22, 2017 after a long hard fight with brain cancer.

Rocky is survived by his loving wife of 38 years, Lorell Heckman; three children, Amanda (Jake) Wolfe, Colter Heckman, and Hanna Heckman; his mother, Beverly Heckman of Augusta; siblings, Mitzi (Short) Stephens of Augusta, Shad (Shaylin) Heckman of Sun River, and Darwin (Shellie) Heckman of Fairfield; seven grandkids, Ryder, Dally, Hazen, Reina, Prairie, Baylee, and Weston Wolfe; parents-in-law Ron and Dixie Jenkins; many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. 

He was preceded in death by his beautiful daughter, Tawnee Jo Heckman and his dad, John “Bud” Heckman.

After receiving news of his terminal illness almost two years ago, Rocky came to know and accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Through all of this Rocky became a true testament to God’s love and grace.

Rocky was born on June 25, 1958 in Baker, Montana to Bud and Beverly Heckman. Rocky spent his childhood in Ekalaka, MT and then, after moving to Augusta, MT, graduated high school there and shortly after, married his high school sweetheart, Lorell Johnston in 1979. They lived in Augusta until 1982 when they moved to Choteau, where they made their home and raised all their kids to adulthood. After all their children were graduated, they started a new chapter in life and moved to Vaughn and started the Wild West Arena.

Rocky and Lorell shared a wonderful life and have gotten to enjoy many great things together. They raised a great family and have always worked extra hard to provide a good life for their family. They traveled a lot of places and on many occasions were able to take their children and some nieces and nephews on vacations. They visited many places around the world including several trips to different spots in Mexico (although Puerto Vallarta was their favorite and became their second home); all over the states; Jamaica; Rio De Janeiro; Germany; Paris, France; Rome and Pisa, Italy; just to name a few.

Rocky held many titles and wore many hats when it came to making a living and providing for his family. He always put his family first, even in the last moments of his life. Everything from operating the ski rental shop at Rocky Mountain Hi (now Teton Pass), taxidermy work, building log houses locally and irrigation pivots across the country, to selling his western artwork in his own gallery and also at the CM Russell Art Auction.

Rocky was most notably known for all his time spent in the mountains. He worked for his parents outfitting business and also several local outfitters, including Chuck and Sharon Blixrud (who became wonderful mentors), before buying a business of his own in 1988 that became known as Montana Safaris.

Rocky’s outfit was originally bought from Ted Hinderager and throughout the years he bought out other outfitters to grow his business into one of the most prestigious outfitting businesses on the Rocky Mountain Front.

Rocky was always involved in some way or another when it came to the Bob Marshall Wilderness and outfitting. He was a part of many trail building projects and was instrumental in a mountain lion study. He touched the lives of hundreds of people by taking them on adventures in the mountains, from catching trout on the Sun River, to guiding them to an elk of their lifetime. He gained many lifelong friends out of clients throughout the years from all over the country and the world.

Rocky always said that the outside of a horse was good for the inside of a man and this was noticeable when you would pass him on the trail on his big black horse, Bud leading a long string of black mules. His life was spent encouraging others to share that. He always had all of his children involved in some sort of horse events whether it was showing horses with Amanda, taking Colter to rodeos, or Hanna’s involvement in rodeo and becoming Miss Rodeo Montana.

Rocky also became very involved in other kids’ lives by starting a youth rodeo association and encouraging future rodeo athletes by becoming a state director, judge, and a coach to many. He was also the Chairman of the Big Sky Pro Rodeo Committee for two years.

Rocky played a significant role in the lives of his seven grandchildren. Fondly called Papa, Rocky has handed over a heritage of love for horses, the outdoors, hard work, plenty of wisdom, and a good sense of humor. Most importantly Rocky has left a legacy of little ones who are learning to love the Lord, just as he did.

Rocky did not just have an impact in children’s lives but also many adults as well. He was always known to push people beyond their limits and comfort zones and that quality has been what has made him into so many people’s hero. If you ever thought you couldn’t do something or wouldn’t be able to handle something, he would push you and push you until you figured it out and everyone was always so grateful for that in the end.

A memorial service in honor of his life is scheduled for Saturday, April 29, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. at the Augusta Rodeo Grounds in Augusta, MT. Colter will be leading his dad’s favorite horse, “Bud” up to the cemetery afterwards to lay him to rest and anyone is welcome to bring a horse and ride along behind, follow on foot, or car pool. Pastor Steve Fleming, from New City Church (Rocky’s most recent church home), will officiate the ceremony. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Rocky’s life.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations and condolences to Lorell Heckman, 53 Highwood Dr., Great Falls, MT  59404. Any donations will be used to fund a Rocky’s Road Organization and Cancer Vive It support group.

The family would like to thank Dr. Martin of Sletten Cancer Institute, nurses Sue, Amanda, Elly, and all the others who showed such compassion and care through Rocky’s battle with cancer.

Public Guest Book

Apr 24th
Deana Henderson
My thoughts and Prayers to all the Heckman's Family.. (((HUGS))) He is a great man, husband, Father, Grandfather, Brother, Uncle and son!! He will be truly missed!
Apr 25th
Judy Agar
Thinking of all of you. Rocky was a great man.
Peace be with all of you. Fly high cowboy. You will be greatly missed.
Apr 25th
Diane Boley
My thoughts and prayers are with Rocky's family at this sad time. I will always remember the "glint" of mischievousness in Rocky's eyes! Montana skies are weeping today. Rest in peace, Rocky!
Apr 25th
Kathy Hall
My heart is simply broken for Lorell and her family. I know there is a special place in heaven for cowboys like Rocky and they welcomed of the best...on April 22nd. May he ride on forever...on one of his good horses...pain free and in peace. God's speed, Rocky. You will be missed.
Apr 25th
Curt &Tia Dear
Lorell, Amanda, Colter, Hanna and family.... Rocky was a great man, a great friend and an amazing human being, as well as So dang funny! His love of his family is undeniable!! We are so incredibly sorry to you all for your loss of this man, husband, dad, grandfather, brother, uncle, son-in-law. We have enjoyed so many great times with you, but at the same time not enough! We are honored to have been able to call this man our friend.
Our love to all.... Curt & Tia Dear
Apr 25th
Kris and Leanne Hedstrom
God Bless and keep your family in his loving arms.
Apr 25th
Lyn Mc Donough Edwards
My sympathies to you Lorell and your children. We shared a lot of fun together growing up. Thank god Rocky was our driver, especially on the road to Sun Canyon. :) Rocky will always be in my heart and now he can see you and his children and grandchildren whenever he wishes. May you all take faith in knowing Rocky is healed and thinking what a great wife and family I have.
Apr 25th
Holly Strong
Shellie, Darwin and family. So young. I am so sorry.
Apr 25th
Jessa Gollehon Shepard
Thoughts and prayers....
Apr 26th
Tammie Klinker
Our deepest condolences to your precious family.
Praying for angels of of comfort to lift you up and give you peace.
Apr 26th
Elida Long
Lorell and family, Your husband and father, a very good man and a very good friend. He will be truly missed. Much love Elida
Apr 26th
Ray Yeager
To Rocky's family:
I was so saddened to learn of Rocky's passing and of the difficult days that he and your family suffered after his diagnosis of brain cancer. My heart goes out to all of you; however, knowing that he accepted Jesus as his Savior is a blessing and so reassuring. He is now home with the God who created him. Romans: 9-11 I did not know Rocky well, but your family was very kind to me when I came to a few ropings and considered your hospitality a reflection of him. May you be comforted by God's promises, prayers, and those who surround you in love. Matthew 5:4

Ray Yeager
Apr 26th
Jack Rich - Rich Ranch
"A Man is a success
Who has lived well,
laughed often and loved much;
Who has gained the respect
of intelligent men and the love of children;
Who has filled his niche
and accomplished his task;
Who leaves the world better than he found it,
whether by an improved poppy or a perfect poem or a rescued soul;
Who never lacked appreciation of earth's beauty
or failed to express it;
Who looked for the best in others
and gave the best he had."

Rocky - this is how I think of you,,,. may you rest in peace. Your friend and fellow outfitter, Jack Rich
Apr 27th
Bryan Fisher and Two Dogs
So sorry for your loss.
Apr 27th
Justin and Jill Bailey
Very sorry for your family's loss. You will all be in our prayers.
Apr 28th
Danny Halverson
Our deepest condolences to the entire Heckman Family. Rocky will be missed.
Apr 28th
Rich Fletcher
April 29, 2017

Rocky as I knew him.

Just one of many standing in a booth selling his wares. Rocky couldn’t have been more comfortable.

It was as if he’d known you all his life and he had.

Nothing to sell, but plenty to talk about without saying much Rocky had nothing to prove even though his living depended upon it.

My first day of hunting with Rocky seemed routine. We dismounted at a spot new to me and known to him.

We climbed a hill in a foot of snow. I placed my boots in his tracks. We sat against a ten foot tall spruce in a two foot snow drift. I sat on my coat.

Rocky told me where to look. Then he told me not to shoot at a medium-size buck that trotted out below us.

“There may be elk coming.” he said.

We sat in windless silence and watched.

Finally two rag-horn bulls stepped out of the timber about 200 yards below us. I placed the cross hairs of my scope on the bigger of the two and it seemed to fall into the timber out of sight. Rocky said it looked like a hit.

We climbed down through drifts that were deeper than they looked and came upon the bull.

“I’ll help,” I said.

“No, sit down over there in case a buck comes by,” said Rocky.

So I sat, until another hunter appeared on his hike from below. When I returned to Rocky and the bull, it was quartered and ready to be dragged down the hill.

I couldn’t imagine that anybody could quarter a bull so fast.

That is how I knew Rocky.

Now, after a few more hunts in the Bob, Rocky Heckman is gone. But, like all special people, he cannot and will not be forgotten.

My sincere condolences to the Heckman family.
May 9th
Chris and Laura Bruch
Lorell, Hanna, and family,
Just got back into town and learned of Rocky's passing. Our thoughts are with you and pray that the Lord gives you peace. I hope where Rocky is, it's clear and cold with fresh snow and fresh tracks. God speed cowboy.
Chris and Laura Bruch


©2011 Schnider Funeral Home - All Rights Reserved
Site Designed and Developed by Shortgrass Web Development