Michael H. Heffron, age 88, of Ames, passed away on December 17, 2018 at Heartwood House in Ames due to complications related to Parkinson’s Disease.
Celebration of Life service will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Saturday, January 12, 2019 at St. John’s by the Campus Episcopal Church in Ames, where there will be a time of fellowship and a luncheon following the service.
Born on August 9, 1930 in Washington D.C., Michael was the son of Edward Joseph and Louise Ann (Howze) Heffron. He attended Gonzaga High School in Washington D.C. and graduated from Fordham Prep in New York City in 1946. He graduated in 1952 from Fordham University with a B.S. in Philosophy. He was united in marriage to Cynthia Goff in 1954. The couple later divorced. He graduated in 1956 with a B.A. in Architecture from The Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington D.C. Michael began his career as a civilian Naval Architect Trainee at the U.S. Navy Bureau of Ships in Washington D.C. From 1957 to 1967, he worked at the Naval Ships System Command as a Habitability Specialist, designing living quarters for officers and midshipman in submarines and aircraft carriers. He continued his career as a Naval Architect until his retirement in 1987. He also taught part-time as a Lecturer in the Graduate Program, Department of Architecture and Planning at CUA. During his tenure, he taught a course, “Behavior Criteria for Environmental Design” on campus and in the European Studies Program in Fontainebleau, France and Rome, Italy (summers of 1975 and 1974 respectively). Michael was united in marriage to Phyllis Margaret Burroughs on September 22, 1973 in College Park, Maryland. The couple moved to Ames, Iowa in 1990.
Michael was afflicted with moderately severe stuttering as a child. From this experience, he became interested in therapies and social support groups for this condition. In 1968, Michael founded The Council for Adult Stutterers, which is currently an international organization. He went on to create and moderate a series of television programs with Washington D.C. affiliate WRC-TV on stuttering in 1969. All in all, he believed these accomplishments were highly significant in helping him to overcome the severity of his speech impediments.
Michael was artistically talented and could draw, paint and sculpt. He produced numerous paintings, drawings and sculptures that are coveted by his family. He also taught drawing at John Carroll High School in Washington D.C. and volunteered painting and drawing classes for children at the Octagon Center for the Arts in Ames, Iowa.
Michael maintained a keen interest in philosophy since his early days in college. Always a critical thinker, he enjoyed writing essays, letters and poetry throughout his life. He wrote a lengthy, unpublished autobiography in his later years and confided this process helped him better understand his childhood and the many ups and downs of adult life. Michael confirmed that this writing was a great benefit in helping him forgive himself and others, ultimately leading to an improved inner peace.
Michael is survived by his wife, Phyllis Margaret of Ames; three daughters: Hilary Hope Heffron of Bethesda, MD, Noel Heffron Lord (Ronald) of New Market, MD, and Kathleen Louise Heffron of New York City; the mother of his children, Cynthia Heffron of Bethesda, MD; nine grandchildren; 5 great-grandchildren; a sister, Ann Heffron Chapman of Manassas, VA; a sister-in-law, Betty Heffron of Silver Spring, MD; and many nieces and nephews. He is also survived by Phyllis’ nieces who became like daughters to them. Jane Burroughs Murphy (Patrick) of San Jose, CA and Elise Burroughs Meaney (Matthew) of Louisville, KY lived with the Heffron’s in Maryland during a good portion of their teenage years.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his son, Mark Hunter Heffron in 1978; his brother, John Holmes Heffron in 2005; and two brothers-in-law: John Burroughs in 1992 and Charles Burroughs in 2000.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to St. John’s by the Campus Episcopal Church, 2338 Lincoln Way, Ames, Iowa 50014, or the Northcrest Foundation, 1801 20th Street, Ames, Iowa 50010.