GARFIELD, N.J. – Roger Frank Hetel, of Garfield, died Friday, April 22 after a battle with cancer. He was 66.
He was the son of Nellie (Gut) and the late Frank Hetel.
He was a graduate of St. Anthony Padua High School. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education at William Paterson University and attended the University of Copenhagen as an exchange student. He began his teaching career at Garfield High School, where he spent 40 years as a drama and English teacher, retiring in 2010. He served his entire career as the drama director of Garfield High School. In his tenure in that position, he directed more than 40 plays and instilled a love of theater in hundreds of students.
He established a chapter of the International Thespian Society at the high school to recognize student dedication to the arts. He instituted the tradition of recognizing the top 15 academic seniors, along with their parents, at a breakfast and ceremony in their honor. As a lifelong citizen of Garfield, he was proud of his past service on the library's board of trustees, his tenure as a commissioner of the Garfield Housing Authority, where he also served as chairman, and his active role as the chairman of the Garfield Redevelopment Agency. He was a lifelong member of St. Stanislaus Kostka Roman Catholic Church.
In addition to his mother, he is survived by his sister, Barbara Zackaroff; his nephew, Gregory Zackaroff and his wife, Kimberly; his uncle Robert Gut and his wife, Florence; his aunt, Lillian Gut; his Godchildren, Gregory Zackaroff and Kristen Giblin; many cousins; and his companion, Molly.
Visiting will take place from 2-8 p.m. Monday. The funeral is Tuesday, arriving at the Aloia Funeral Home at 8:30 a.m. followed by a 10 a.m. Mass at St. Stanislaus Kostka Roman Catholic Church, Garfield. Interment will take place at St. Michael’s Cemetery, South Hackensack.
The family is accepting donations for the Roger F. Hetel Memorial Scholarship Fund.