Shelly passed away in the Danbury, Connecticut, Hospital in the arms of her son, on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, from metastatic breast cancer after battling the disease for 17 years intermittently.
Shelly Dawn Madigan was born on Feb. 20, 1954, in Chisholm, Minn., to Lois and Ray Madigan. Raised on the Iron Range, she spent the majority of her life in Minneapolis; she loved to travel the world and lived abroad in Pakistan during the 1970s. She received an MPH from the University of Minnesota and worked diligently for the State Department of Health with a concentration on breast and cervical cancer. She worked to erect free clinics for women to be tested for the aforementioned diseases. She married Paul Heck and birthed one son, Erik Madigan Heck.
Shelly was one of six children, and spent the majority of her life spreading love throughout her family and community, devoting all of her time to empowering those around her. Shelly was an impressionist painter, avid reader, caregiver, explorer, mother and friend to countless individuals all over the world. When she wasn’t raising her son as a single mother, working to better women’s health, and helping her immediate family, she loved to observe the beauty of the world in all facets. Her true joy was spreading love, and creating things of beauty from her paintings, conversations, and inviting others friends over for her delicious cooking. Her love was boundless and contagious, her intellectual rigor was understated but profound, and her curiosity for life’s possibilities were unmatched. There never was a person who could utter an ill word in her direction, because she was the true embodiment of love. The world mourns her passing with the gravest sincerity, because she truly was one in a million — a selfless, loving example of how we all should be. We will forever miss you.
She is survived by her son, Erik and wife, Brianna, and their two young sons, Felix and Winston; her mother, Lois Meyers; her sisters, Linda Long and Wendy Bittner; her brothers, Randy, Jay and Arlen, and their loving families.
Funeral: There will be a celebration of her life at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 14, at First Unitarian Society, 900 Mount Curve Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403. All are welcome.