Mesa Kincaid, voted as the woman with "wild wit" by her classmates at Minneapolis Edison High School, took her soothing, pleasant voice and her way with words to the radio airwaves as one of the first female disc jockeys in the Twin Cities.
Kincaid, whose real name was Cheryl Hoeft, went by several handles during her time behind the microphone in the 1970s at such stations as KQRS (92.5 FM), WCCO-FM (now WLTE, 102.9 FM) and KS95 (KSTP-FM, 94.5 FM).
But she is best remembered as the lively host who dubbed herself "Cheetah" and later adopted the tamer moniker "The Fox that Rocks" on U100, the predecessor of KDWB (101.3 FM).
"She was one of the first female personality jocks to work here [in the Twin Cities market]," said Mike Kronforst, an instructor at Brown College who taught Kincaid in the 1970s. "She was a pioneer, a ground-breaker, and took care of that glass ceiling. She was terrific and a character."
Kincaid, who had been battling health problems of late, died of an apparent heart attack on Sept. 6 at her home in Pine City, Minn. She was 52.
During her career, Kincaid's duties included guiding motorists home as an afternoon drive-time host, working as an on-the-scene reporter for KSTP-TV's "Good Company," and doing voice-overs for commercials. She signed off the air in 1983 after a seven-month stint on the KQRS Morning Show with Tom Barnard in which the duo was known as "The Cat and Kincaid."
"She was energetic, fun, entertaining and sometimes controversial," said Tom Oszman, a friend and media enthusiast who runs a broadcast history website, www.tcmedianow.com. "She was a voice that you wanted to invite into your house and listen to," he said.
After she left radio, Kincaid became a crusader as an environmental consultant to numerous companies, including Northwest Airlines, and helped many companies find ways to go green by implementing waste management and recycling programs. She worked feverishly in the area of economic development and played a role in two companies -- Hollywood Pyrotechnics and Organic Technologies Inc. -- moving to Pine City, Minn., where she had been living, said Kincaid's daughter, Courtney Gryniewski of Minneapolis.
Kincaid's interests included politics, and she wrote articles on candidates and issues for publications such as Law & Politics, Mpls.-St. Paul magazine and newspapers in outstate Minnesota. She also enjoyed horseback riding, French impressionist art work, French culture, and the classic rock bands Styx, Journey and Foreigner. She was a board member of the Minnesota Sinfonia, said Mira LaCous, friend and president of Hollywood Pyrotechnics.
Above all, she loved her family, talking with people and making them laugh, Gryniewski said.
"She wasn't named 'Wild Wit' without a reason," her daughter said. "There wasn't a conversation that we didn't laugh for most of it. That is what she brought to people's lives. In her memory, I'm telling people to keep laughing and tell somebody you love them."
In addition to her daughter, Kincaid is survived by her mother, Dorothy Coppess, son, Dustin Hoeft, and husband, Donald Hoeft, all of Pine City, and a sister, Shelley Ausham, of Columbus, Ohio.
A graveside service will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Hillside Cemetery, 2610 19th Av. NE., Minneapolis. A reception will follow.