John E. Heffernan III

John E. Heffernan III of Monterey, MA and formerly of Enfield, CT passed away January 20, 2019, at home, surrounded by his family, from glioblastoma. John was born on February 10, 1934 in Peabody, MA, the son of John E. Heffernan, Jr and Margaret (Mulligan) Heffernan. He graduated from Brookline High school in 1952 and from Northeastern University in 1957. He married Esther Terni on June 10, 1957. Together, they had three children, John, Colleen, and Tim.

John served in the U.S. Army in the Nike Missile System and as part of NATO in Verdun, France.  He was employed for many years as an underwriter for Traveler’s Insurance Company and later for SBLI.

John was a stalwart supporter of his children and positively delighted in his grandchildren.  Throughout his life, he enjoyed athletic activities (from playing high school and college football and basketball to recreational bowling, softball, running, biking, cross country skiing, golfing) and was an avid sports fan. He had a lifelong love of music, especially jazz, bluegrass and opera. He was a devoted crossword puzzle solver, enhanced by his great memory and fund of general knowledge. He spent many hours in retirement woodworking and building rock walls. Many are the recipients of his bread boards, tables, birdhouses, and window mirrors. John never hesitated to lend a hand to others and was much loved by all who knew him.

Over the last 2 months of his illness, his family was struck by his courage and equanimity in facing this last enormous health challenge. From his fall just before Thanksgiving, to the discovery of the tumor in his brain, then the decision to have the surgery to remove the tumor, and finally the decision to forgo treatment when left with disability and poor quality of life following the surgery, he was resolute and clear in expressing his wishes to come home. Over the course of the illness, he was touched by all the support he received from friends and family, humbly amazed and pleased by all the calls, visits, and cards. He felt loved and blessed and he was not afraid.

John was predeceased by his parents, his brother Paul Heffernan and his sister Jane Heavey.

He is survived by his wife, Esther, son John and his wife Dawn Heffernan, daughter Colleen and her husband Mark Robinson, son Tim, and grandchildren Aidan Heffernan, Gain Robinson and fiancee Anna Been, Sarah Robinson and Paul Heffernan, his sisters Sheila Dankese and Brenda Popeo, brother Gerald Heffernan, his brothers and sisters-in-law and many nieces and nephews.

SERVICES – At John’s request, there will be no formal services. The family will receive visitors 12:00-1:30 pm on Saturday January 26, 2019, followed by remembrances from 1:30-2:00 pm at Finnerty & Stevens Funeral Home, 426 Main St Great Barrington, MA 01230.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Monterey Library, PO Box 173, Monterey, MA 01245 or Solstice Farm/Beth Timlege, PO Box 731, Monterey, MA 01245.  To send remembrances to his family please go to

The family wishes to sincerely thank Hospice Care in the Berkshires for their compassionate care and support during the last stage of John’s illness.

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