Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Tribute to the Life of Richard Hejza Sr., Conceived in Rape, Well-Loved, by Michelle Mitchell

On Sunday, July 26, 2015, a dear relative of mine, Richard M. Hejza Sr. (nicknamed "Captain"), departed this life, after having been hit by a car.  He was an extraordinary man who shaped my values, and I'm writing this as a tribute to his life.

Richard was conceived in rape under circumstances which exacerbated the situation.  His mother was a white woman who worked at a hotel as a cleaning lady, and she was raped on the job by a black man. She was married to a white man (Mr. Hejza), so you can imagine the challenges they faced, as it would always be obvious that her husband was not his biological father.  Nevertheless, they raised him with his brothers and sisters.

He always knew the circumstances surrounding his coming into existence, but he didn't let it define him.  He went through a lot in school, as kids can be cruel, for whatever reason they knew.  So when Richard got married and had his own kids, he decided to keep his conception a secret from them.  But as secrets have a way to coming out of the dark, this one was no exception.

When my sister was 5 months pregnant with my nephew (Richard's grandson), a close friend of ours knew Richard's story, because her father went to school with him.  Her father was livid when he found out his daughter had told us.  I knew before my sister did, but kept it to myself.  Then the same gal told my sister, and my sister in turn told my nephew's father and his sister -- Richard's two children.  Richard's son then called his dad and asked, "What nationalities am I?" Hid dad mentioned Polish,and then my nephew's father asked, "Are you missing one?" At that moment, he realized his son knew, and told him how he was conceived and he didn't want to let him or his sister know because of what he went through in school. I'm sure our society's views had a role in it as well, with him wanting to spare them the shame and stigma of having been descended from a rapist.

His daughter Bernadette said, "Dad always made us go to church. He said 'God makes time for us and we're going to make time for God.'"

Richey was a lot of fun, and always the life of the party.  He cracked me up; if you were a woman, no matter what your name was, he called you "Stella." He was such a goof ball. As you can see by his hat (which he began wearing about 10 years ago) his granddaughter Amber referred to him as "Captain."  In the photo, you can see him holding his great-grandchild, and next to him is a photo of the actor Earnest Borgnine. If you could see his teeth, they even had the same smile.  He was truly loved by his family and friends and will be missed.

Richard's life was cut short last week after being hit by a car while he was riding a motorized bike.  After a week and a half in the hospital, he succumbed to his injuries.  We are all missing out on having him in our lives now, but had his life been taken years earlier by abortion, none of us would have had the joy of knowing what it would be like to have him around all of these years. His children would never have been born, he would have never had grandchildren or great-grandchildren, and I wouldn't have had my nephew had Richard's mother chosen to take his life because he was conceived in rape.  Four generations (since he was a great-grandpa) so far have Richey's mother to thank for choosing life and love over death, and for the law protecting his life pre-Roe v Wade.  Not only was his life saved, but his future children and generations to come were saved as well.  God bless his mother, and her husband who chose to love his wife's child!

BIO:  Michelle Mitchell is a blogger for, a pro-life activist for decades, and has been on the front lines outside of abortion clinics in upstate New York for the last several years.


Juda said...

Thank you for sharing. I am sorry for your loss. There are so many of us who are rape conceived living in the world and the world is unaware of how we began. However they are trying desperately to keep us from being born. I'm glad he was given life and for the blessing he was.

Christa Rizzi said...

What a wonderful story shared by a wonderful person!

Christa Rizzi said...

What a wonderful story shared by a wonderful person!