Beloved artist leaves legacy of generosity
Working with metal to create classic scenes of rural Kansas ran in Tracy Hett’s blood.
The inspiration for Hett’s artistic works — sold at Trace of Copper on US-56 as well as at Kansas travel information centers and Kansas Originals in Wilson — was inherited from his grandfather.
It also came though his father, Lyndon, an artist who helped market Tracy’s work.
Tracy died at his Marion County Lake residence Thursday at age 53.
Geraldine Hett, Tracy’s wife of 25 years, said opening his own shop had been “just a baby step” for him after years of creating art.
“He worked with his grandfather on art pieces,” Geraldine said. “He started his trade when he was young — started his trade and learned how to run the business.”
She never knew him when he didn’t create art.
“He was extremely grateful to be able to have fun and make a living at it,” Geraldine said.
A nurse consultant, Geraldine spent a lot of time at the shop herself.
“I think what everybody knows about him is, he’s incredibly generous and a very easy person to get along with, and anybody could go into his shop and talk,” Geraldine said.
It’s been amazing hearing what his customers have to say as the family breaks the news of his death to them, Geraldine said.
“He never thought it was anything like work,” she said. “Talking to his customers now, it was more than he ever thought about himself.”
Tracy’s aunt, Julie Nelson, said in the days since his death last week, she’s been proud to hear people’s comments about her nephew.
“When I went to town to get groceries, some people came up to talk to me — talking about how much he was loved and how much he was going to be missed,” she said. “He grew a big garden and was always eager to share his produce. At one time they had chickens and would give the eggs away.”
Julie said her nephew would be remembered for far more than his creations.
“It wasn’t just his art; it was his giving soul,” she said.
Daughter Allison Hett said her father loved doing what he did. She grew up in his workshop watching him.
“I liked most everything he had in there,” she said. “I really loved his windmills and watching him make those.”
Whether the shop will remain open has not been decided.
“He wanted to leave it as a legacy,” Allison said. “But I was never able to do what he could do.”
Last modified July 8, 2021