FFRF Member Clem Wiechecki, 75, died from complications due to pulmonary fibrosis on July 1 with his wife Debbie by his side. The last words they said to one another were, “I love you.”
Clem was born July 20, 1941, in Hammond, Ind., to Clem and Mary (Stankovich) Wiechecki. He was a veteran of the United States Air Force, retiring in 1980 after 20 years of service. In 1983, he began work at for the U.S. Postal Service, which is where he met Debbie. They married in June 1996 and worked together until Clem’s retirement in 2004. The couple, along with their dogs and cat, enjoyed traveling and visited 42 states.
In September 2011, Clem was diagnosed with IPF (idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis), a terminal lung disease. Clem and Debbie became advocates to spread awareness about pulmonary fibrosis and participated in lung walks and climbs in Las Vegas as Team Clem vs. Pulmonary Fibrosis. Clem even climbed the Las Vegas Stratosphere, all 1,455 stairs, in February 2016.
Clem is survived by his wife Debbie, his sister Loretta Hamilton, four sons and their wives, 11 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Clem donated his body to science with the hope of teaching more people about pulmonary fibrosis. He will be cremated at a later date. A celebration of life was held on July 29 at his home in Las Vegas. A military burial was held in San Antonio, Texas. Debbie will spread some of his ashes in the last eight states they needed to visit.
Donations can be made toward Debbie’s walks and climbs to help raise money to find a cure for lung diseases. Go to bit.ly/2hojrll to donate.