John G. "Jerry" Heffernan, 83, of Haverhill, passed away on July 7, 2017, in Methuen.
"The world lost a little bit of sunshine today."
Our Dad told us this is all he wanted his obituary to say. At the time we laughed because, depending on how well you knew him, you might think of him as more storm cloud than sunshine. He was a big guy with a loud, gruff voice and a dark, dry sense of humor. Given his choice, he'd be reading a book in the sun, golfing, or planting and taking care of his gardens.
John loved animals and took in every stray that ever showed up at our door. If you wanted a warm greeting when visiting him it was a good idea to have a dog with you. He took his family on vacations to Old Orchard Beach where we would hold onto his shoulders and he would swim out to what seemed like the horizon line. We weren't afraid because we knew our Dad was stronger than the ocean.
Born in Haverhill to John P. and Mary Cronin Heffernan, John attended St. James School and proudly served his country in the Army and then with the Coast Guard.
He is survived by his wife, Edith McGee Heffernan of Haverhill; children, Gerald P. Heffernan and his partner, Sally Mank of Haverhill, Mary Heffernan and her partner, Brant Charron of Haverhill, Joseph Heffernan and his wife, Anne of Plaistow, N.H., Sheila Heffernan and her partner, Mark Reusch of Haverhill; favorite grandson, Ryan Heffernan; brothers, Paul Heffernan of Newton, N.H., Donald Heffernan of West Palm Beach, Fla., and David Heffernan and his wife, Dottie of North Conway, N.H. John also leaves behind many nieces and nephews.
Our family would like to thank the doctors who managed to give us nearly a decade of extra time with our father. Dr. Sunny, Dr. Tarkan, and Dr. Oettinger all treated our Dad with such warmth, kindness, and respect. We are forever grateful for their efforts. We would especially like to thank Andrea, the nurse in the I.C.U. at Merrimack Valley Hospital who did what his family and doctors were unable to do convince him to undergo a procedure which led the way to extending his life.
Each day our Dad would check the obituaries to see if he was in there. Congratulations, Dad! You made it!
ARRANGEMENTS: Memorial services will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to the M.S.P.C.A at Nevins Farm or to the Disabled American Veterans of Massachusetts.
Arrangements are by Paul C. Rogers Family Funeral Home, 334 Main St., Haverhill.
Published on  July 13, 2017