By Michelle Graff
111114 Hequin-obit-article2Miami--Sandra Helayne Schechter Hequin, a member of the family that owns Miami mainstay Morays Jewelers, died last week after a brief battle with cancer. She was 53.

Born March 19, 1961, she lived her entire life in Miami and started in the jewelry business at the tender age of 5.

Hequin began with a broom, sweeping her family’s store while learning the jewelry business under her grandparents, Murray and Sally Schechter, and later under her parents, Richard and Libby Schechter, who provide support to the store to this day.

As a young adult she attended both the University of Florida and the University of Miami. She went on to devote her entire professional career to Morays Jewelers, which has been operating in downtown Miami since 1939.

A leader and visionary in the jewelry business, Hequin was respected and admired by many and received a “Business Woman of the Year” award in 2008.

On Oct. 3 she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. She died a little more than a month later, surrounded by family. In an interview with National Jeweler conducted shortly after her diagnosis, son Beau Hequin said that Morays Jewelers had begun partnering with various breast cancer charities.  

Hequin was a woman who “lived her life with a fierce determination, a notorious feistiness, and a heart that seemed to grow bigger each day,” her family said.

She is survived by her parents, Richard and Libby Schechter; one son, Beau Hequin and a soon-to-be daughter-in-law Elena Vertlib; one daughter, Tiffany Hequin; one sister, Jill Leslie; cousins Brenda and Alan Kroll, Mona Heisler, Ryan Heisler, Lisa and Frank Milstead, Gary and Kathy Gottlieb, Gail and Jason Keifert; one aunt, Evelyn Gottlieb; aunt and uncle Irene and Shelly Maisel and her “Morays family.”

Services were held Monday at Levitt Weinstein in North Miami Beach. In lieu of flowers, her family asks donations be made to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

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