Emily Jane Orsag Hejl, 89, passed away at St. Joseph Hospital, with family at her bedside on January 21, 2021.
For those who wish to pay their respects, Emily will lie in state from 12pm Noon until 7pm on Thursday, January 28; funeral services will be at 10am on Friday, January 29, both at Strickland Funeral Home in Caldwell. The funeral service will be streamed live on the funeral home website. Interment will be at Snook Cemetery.
Emily was born on January 9, 1932 to parents John Jr and Ella (Zalmanek) Orsag. She was born at home on her parent’s farm in the Czech community of Volney in Burleson County. As the first born in the family, she was tough and a tomboy who wasn’t afraid to work hard or get her hands dirty. She grew up in the area and attended Happy Hill School and Snook High School. Although she left school early, she was very proud to have earned her GED later in life. On July 3, 1948, she married the love of her life Bennie Nathan Hejl. They were married for 69 years prior to his passing in 2017. They worked side by side on the farm together, working cattle, raising pigs, turkeys, chickens and performing other tasks like hay baling, hay hauling, cotton picking, harvesting corn & maize. She also helped process post oak firewood for wood heaters & sold it in the local community. Emily’s childhood experience of learning to work the land was a benefit to her as she and Bennie maintained their ranch & farm. In 1980 Emily and Bennie started the H&H Ranch along with their two sons B.J. and Donnie. She worked alongside them until her last days, whether checking livestock, feeding, hay hauling or bookkeeping. They raised a large garden and enjoyed the fruit of their hard work by canning their own produce and processing their own meat. Bennie and Emily were blessed with a daughter and three sons.
Emily was a hard worker and was always finding a way to serve others and serve her community. Emily had a part in the first organization of the Snook 4-H Club and was a Leader of the club, also helped the organization of the Tunis Water System & served as Director and she was involved in many other community organizations including managers of the SPJST Hall in Snook, the Burleson County Fair Association & the active supporters of Snook VFD. Emily was an excellent cook and enjoyed sharing her gift of pastries with others. She also won awards several times at Kolache Festival. She baked many kolaches and pastries over the years, and was known for gifting them to her doctors & office staff, as a thank-you for her care. She made mouth-watering cheese braid breads to donate for local charities and auctions. For many years, Emily was a consistent supporter helping put on the Men’s Brotherhood Harvest Meal at New Tabor Brethren Church and other events.
Emily was very strong in her Christian Faith, and always faithfully attended and contributed to her church. In their earlier years of marriage, she and Bennie attended New Tabor Brethren Church, where she sang in the choir. Emily was the president and treasurer for the New Tabor Christian Sisters, served as an Elder & church treasurer. In more recent years, Emily enjoyed attending the Caldwell Brethren Church and the Snook Brethren Church.
Above all, Emily loved her family and was always there to cheer on her kids and grandkids whether it be ball games, Fair events, or other milestones in their lives. Emily was a caring and generous person who will be missed by many. Her hobbies were growing pot plants, watching & listening to polka shows and sport events. She also liked shelling pecans and sharing them with her kids for baking.
Emily is survived by her children: Bonnie Walker (late husband, Randy), Ronnie (wife Ginger), B.J. (wife Nichole), Donnie (wife Bonnie); grandkids Kristen Hejl Rietz (husband Zachary), Nathan Hejl and partner Steven Soares, Justin Hejl (wife Laine), Jessica Hejl, Jacob Hejl, Jordan Hejl (fiancee Preslie Hale), Sarah Hejl (fiance Trace Choate), Randa Walker Vadjak, Erin Walker; six great-grandchildren and two step-great-grandchildren; her brother John Orsag (wife Betty); and brother-in-law Jesse Floeck III.
Emily is preceded in death by her husband Bennie, her son-in-law Randy Walker, and her sister Joyce Orsag Floeck.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial to the Snook Brethren Church or the Snook Brethren Christian Sisters.