Betty D. Hegner, a writer, editor, and conservationist, died Oct. 6, 2019, at the age of 87. Born 1932 in Montana, she was a regional reporter in her local 4H chapter. In high school, she edited the newspaper and yearbook and served as a crew member for many theatre productions. She graduated second in her class and won multiple scholarships to attend Medill.
After graduating, she worked as a writer and editor for Institutions, a Chicago-based publication for which Richard Hegner’s company provided commercial art content. Through that connection the couple met and they married in 1960. In 1965 they moved from Chicago to their beloved farm in Harvard, Ill.
Betty and Richard started Hegner Real Estate in a remodeled chicken coop on their farm in 1972. They saw a keen opportunity with the RE/MAX concept and purchased the master franchise for Northern Illinois in 1977. Together, they built RE/MAX into the leading real estate brand in the region. Avid conservationists, Richard and Betty planted over 300,000 trees on their land and in 2009, they received the award for “Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year” from the Illinois Tree Farm System. The Hegner Theatre Wing at Florida Studio Theatre in Sarasota, Fla., is a testament to their commitment to the arts.
Betty served on the boards of directors for the Soil & Water Conservation District of McHenry County, Woodstock Fine Arts Association, and Raue Center for the Arts. She and Richard started the CARES Foundation and the Hegner Family Foundation. She belonged to the Natural Organic Farmers Association, League of Women Voters, Parent-Teacher Organization, and the National Organization for Women.
Betty is survived by her children, step-grandchildren, great-grandchild and brother.