Michael A. Heffernan Sr. of Needham MA, September 9, at the age of 89. Mike died peacefully at home surrounded by his “gang”, as he always referred to his eight kids. He is survived by his best friend and the love of his life, Elizabeth A. “Betty” (Farrell) Heffernan, married 67 years, and his children: Kathleen E. Heffernan of Worcester, MA; Sheila M. McDonough of Ashland, MA; Roy E. Heffernan and his wife Clare (Halvey) of Cataumet, MA; Elizabeth A. “Betsy” Heffernan and her husband John Thomson of Natick, MA; Michael A. Heffernan, Jr. and his wife Karin (Bloom) of Sutton Mills, NH; Teresa Tocci-Brignolo of Norton, MA; Stephen E. Heffernan of Needham, MA; Brian W. Heffernan and his wife Nancy (Bellomo) of Westborough, MA. Grandpa, BabaMike and Papa Mike to Kelly, Matthew, Anna, Elise, Samantha, Luke, Jana, Shamus, Lindy, Geneva, Adam, Jeffrey, Kayla, Austin, Julia, Michael, Bridget, and Kate. Great Grandpa to Riley, Gavin, Nathan, Devin, John, Izabella, Carter, Caroline, Jack, Ben, Anora, Avett, and counting…
Mike was born in Jamaica Plain, MA on September 20, 1930 to Dr. Roy J. Heffernan and Kathleen (Walsh) Heffernan. He is survived by his siblings Sheila A. Clark of Needham, MA; Thomas J. Heffernan and his wife Kathryn of Ridgway, CO and James A.W. Heffernan and his wife Nancy of Hanover, NH. Mike was predeceased by his siblings Roy J. Heffernan, Jr. of Jamaica Plain, MA; Joan K. Jacobs of Needham, MA; Margaret “Peg” H. Laughlin of Wrentham, MA; J. Timothy Heffernan of Bow, NH and David W. Heffernan of Miami, FL.
Mike’s mischievous spirit and wry sense of humor were both captured perfectly when his mother once said, “I love you, Michael because you’re always getting into trouble.” It’s hard not to smile as we recall Mike setting up a good story with that twinkle in his eye. He had a true zest for life and he lived and loved to the fullest!
A Mass State Wrestling Champion at Milton Academy, Mike went on to BC High where he was President of his class and a stellar football, wrestling and track star. After high school, Mike’s steadfast faith called him to consider the priesthood and he spent the next year at the Maryknoll Brothers Seminary. Then it was off to the hills of Worcester, MA where he enjoyed four successful years as a College of the Holy Cross Crusader, graduating in 1953. It was at Holy Cross where Mike and Betty forged what would become many dear and lifelong friendships, and Mike remained an active and loyal alumnus throughout his lifetime.
Upon graduation, Mike’s love for his country called him to enlist in The United States Marine Corps. From this point forward, Semper Fidelis was to become highly indicative of how Mike approached all aspects of his life. Always faithful and fiercely loyal.
Mike was the Founder and President of Knoll Contracting Corporation, a commercial plumbing construction business. His many projects over the years included Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Faulkner Hospital, Boston City Hospital and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum on Boston Harbor, designed by I.M. Pei.
Mike and Betty chose Needham, MA as their home for a lifetime. Mike spent the next sixty-two years dedicated to making a positive impact in Needham and throughout the State. He was a past President of the Mass Building Congress, past President of Catholic Alumni Solidarity, Life Member of the NAACP since 1969, Past Chair of the Needham Town Democratic Committee, Past Trustee of Glover Memorial Hospital (now Beth Israel Deaconess). Needham offered an incredible community in which to raise his family. To show his deep appreciation to the Town of Needham, and to honor Betty, Mike donated a bronze statue of two children reading together on the town common.
Mike cherished Faith, Family and Football. St Joseph’s Parish became central in his life where he made the time each week to share his faith with high school students in catechism class. Mike’s greatest joy was time spent with Betty and their “gang”. Family meant everything to him. He and Betty built trusted, loving and unique relationships with each of their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. These bonds proved to be everlasting and were highlighted recently, as Mike needed significant care toward the end of his wonderful life. As for football, Mike liked to refer to his playing days at Holy Cross as “BFM” (before face masks!) he was Co-founder and the first President of Needham Pop Warner and he regularly referred to any and all sports other than football as the “minor sports”.
Mike had an incredible natural capacity to help others. He would always do it in a quiet manner. He was driven by his authentic generosity, huge heart and humble spirit. Quite a legacy for all of us to learn from and draw upon as our guide!
Mike’s family will be forever grateful to his caregivers over the past several years. In particular hugs to: Eileen and Marie, Dr. Yatish M. Patel, Mike’s long-time, devoted primary care physician, Dr. Walter Mutter, his caring Nephrologist, Colette, Aza and the Team at ARA Wellesley Dialysis, Partners VNA and the amazing palliative and hospice nurses of Care Dimensions.
In lieu of flowers, donations in honor of Mike can be made to The Life is Good Kids Foundation. https://www.lifeisgood.com/kidsfoundation/kidsfoundation.html
Unfortunately, due to the need for social distancing at this time, Mike’s Mass of Christian Burial and burial with Military Honors will be private and for family only.