Alvina was born on 28 January 1888 at 1931 Montgomery St. in St. Louis, as the third of nine children to Henry Wilhelm Brueseke and Sophie “Louise” Charlotte Brinkhoff. She was raised in a home with strong German and religious values. Alvina’s baptism occurred on 28 March 1888 at Evangl Zion Kirche, then at 25th and Benton St. The church, now called Zion United Church of Christ, in Florissant, was the site of her confirmation on 31 March 1901 and marriage on 25 May 1911 to Edwin William Hecht.

Alvina attended Irving Public School through sixth grade. She then attended Zion Evangelical church school for two years where classes were in the German language. School ended with her confirmation. Between school and home, Alvina became fluent in German.

Alvina became a dressmaker’s apprentice and a very skilled seamstress. Her father, Henry Brueseke, was a foreman at the National Enameling and Stamping Company. Edwin William Hecht had an opportunity to “meet the boss’s daughter.” They courted on weekends by interurban train until their marriage on 25 May 1911.

The young couple lived in Granite City. After buying a new brick four-family flat at 2056 and 2058 “C” Street, they had cows and chickens in the backyard to earn extra money by selling milk and eggs. On the side, Alvina still sewed lovely dresses for friends, tenants, relatives, herself, and her daughters, too.

In 1925, because of Edwin’s health problems, and because Henry Brueseke, now a widower, needed a housekeeper, Edwin and Alvina moved from Granite City to 4261 Red Bud Avenue in St. Louis. Edwin died of cancer on 12 April 1926.

Alvina took a seamstress position in a small neighborhood shop, E. W. Hoge Company, to sew women’s burial dresses! Alvina earned about twelve dollars per week for forty hours. It must have seemed like an answer to a prayer, using her best talent and only about four blocks walking distance from home. Alvina continued living at the Red Bud address until 1952, when her father, Henry Brueseke, died on 8 April. Daughter Ruth and her husband, Ed, invited her to move into their home and she accepted.

Alvina Brueseke Hecht
Alvina Brueseke Hecht in 1959
Photo in the collection of Marian Brune McCreary
Used with permission

In 1954, Alvina set sail on the Queen Elizabeth I, with a beautiful new wardrobe she sewed and three new pieces of luggage, for a three-month visit to her parents’ relatives in Germany, whom she had never met. It was the first time in her life she felt really pampered.

After her wonderful vacation, Alvina continued going by bus from Ferguson to Zion Church in the city and monthly Ladies Aid meetings. During Thanksgiving weekend 1960, Alvina suddenly fell from a chair. She recovered quickly. but she had a sudden stroke and died soon thereafter. Alvina’s funeral, on 21 December 1960, was followed by her burial at Zion Cemetery beside her husband, Edwin William Hecht.

Alvina and Edwin had two daughters:

    • Anita Louise Hecht, born on 26 July 1912, St. Louis, and died on 9 May 2002. She married Rev. Elmer H. Dickbernd.
    • Ruth Naomi Hecht, born on 17 August 1916, Granite City, Illinois, and died on 16 November 2006. She married Edwin M. Brune.

Written by Marian Brune McCreary (using stories from her mother Ruth Hecht Brune)
December 2017

© 2018, St. Louis Genealogical Society

Return to St. Louis City/County Biographies.

Last Modified: 25-Oct-2018 10:34