Deborah D. Hettinger

Deborah D. Hettinger

As posted on the Tres Hewell Mortuary website.

Dr. Deborah D. Hettinger
(August 27, 1949 - October 17, 2012);

Deborah Hettinger, a professor beloved by a generation of students at Texas Lutheran University, died on Wednesday, October 17, in Seguin, Texas. Deborah was born on August 27, 1949 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and always lovingly referred to herself as "an Army brat." Deborah's father, Col. Lester Robertson, was a career soldier and moved his family when the Army needed him in a new place. As a child Deborah lived in North Carolina, Oklahoma, Maryland, Virginia, Illinois, Georgia, and Japan. This early travel may have been part of why Deborah was so open to new experiences and didn't fear people who's looks, interests, and beliefs were different from hers. Deborah made friends where ever she went. Stephen's College in Columbia, Missouri was Deborah's choice for her undergraduate education. At Stephens she earned a bachelor's degree in literature, and took an equestrian course that she often remembered fondly. She also participated in Up With People, an organization that uses music to bridge cultural barriers and inspire people, and once traveled to Panama with the group. Deborah went on to earn a Ph.D. degree in Physiology from the University of California at Davis. After earning her Ph.D. she took a Post Doc position in San Antonio at the U.T. Health Science Center. In 1980 she joined the Faculty of Texas Lutheran University in the Biology Department. Deborah never tired of learning new things, and through multiple National Science Foundation summer programs and workshops, expanded her expertise beyond physiology to become very knowledgeable in the fields of genetics, neuroscience, and molecular biology. She enjoyed teaching all of these subjects, and her teaching skills were a strong influence on many of her students who went on to become researchers and/or health care providers. She was proud of the achievements of all of her students, and many of her students kept in touch with her, and would come back years later to visit with and thank “Dr. H” for the positive influence she had on their lives. Deborah was proud to be a member of the Rotary Club of Seguin and a Fellow of the Texas Academy of Science, an organization that she served for nearly a decade as the Executive Secretary. Deborah was also a long time member of the Texas Association of Advisors to the Health Professions (TAAHP) and served as chair of this state wide organization. As a member of the Texas Lutheran University Health Professions Committee she wrote innumerable letters of recommendation, arranged internship experiences for students, conducted mock interviews to prepare students for their medical school interviews, and generally mentored the students with interest in health professions and biological research careers. Deborah will be missed greatly in each of these roles. Above all else Deborah loved her family, and enjoying time in nature. She cherished the summers when she could spend time with her parents, husband, and children in her beloved Georgian Bay, Canada. Deborah was fascinated by and loved all living creatures, and during the summer months, she would wake before dawn to collect hatching damselfly nymphs, and spend hours under the microscope identifying and monitoring what species were in the region. She was also an avid and curious gardener, and filled her backyard with every color and shape of flower. Deborah is survived by her husband, Dr. John T. Sieben, her children, Michael Hettinger, Annaliese Hettinger, and Michael Sieben, their spouses, and four grandchildren. She is preceded in death by her parents Col. Lester C. Robertson and Charlie Von Schubert and her brother, Steven Michael Hettinger. A memorial service is planned for Deborah on Monday, October 22, 2012 at 1:00 p.m. in the Chapel of the Abiding Presence on the Texas Lutheran University Campus with Pastor Greg Ronning officiating. A reception will follow in the Tschoepe Hall Atrium, also on the Texas Lutheran University Campus. In lieu of flowers the family request that donations be made in her name to Texas Lutheran University, Development Office, 1000 West Court Street, Seguin, Texas, 78155-9989.