Robert “Bob” Heffern

Bob J. Heffern, 86, of Waukon died Sunday, October 7, 2018 at his home surrounded by his family. Funeral services will be held Thursday, October 11 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Waukon with Fr. Mark Osterhaus officiating. Burial with military honors will be at St. Joseph’s Paint Rock Cemetery, Harpers Ferry.

Friends may call from 3-8 p.m. Wednesday, October 10 at Martin Funeral Home in Waukon, where there will be a 2:45 p.m. scripture service. In lieu of flowers the family would like all donations to go to the Waukon Wellness Center or Crossing Rivers Health Hospice.

Robert John Heffern was born June 30, 1932 in La Crosse, WI, the son of John and Anna (Kelly) Heffern. He was baptized and confirmed at St. Joseph’s at Paint Rock Catholic Church near Harpers Ferry and graduated from Waterville High School. Bob served in the U.S. Army from 1953-1955, during the Korean War.

November 19, 1958, he married Bernadine Ann Welsh at St. Mary’s Lycurgus Catholic Church in rural Waukon. They operated Heffern Hilltop Farms near Harpers Ferry, where they raised beef and dairy cattle, crops, pigs and horses. Bob was a steward of the land and in 2013, the farm was awarded the Heritage Farm Award. Bob and Bernadine moved into Waukon in 1998. Bob also did some road construction and drove shuttle bus for the Miss Marquette.

Bob’s faith life was of utmost importance to him as a former member of St. Ann’s/St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, a member of St. Patrick Catholic Church, and the CEW community. He was a member of the American Legion Post 722 in Harpers Ferry, Allamakee County Cattlemen Association, Little Switzerland snowmobile club and the local saddle club. Bob and Bernadine were active in all facets of 4-H and were both inducted into the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame in 2007.

Bob was known for his smile, infectious laughter, and love for life. He would truly light up any room he entered. He could make a friend anywhere he went.  Bob enjoyed traveling, bowling and playing cards, “especially euchre,” and he loved attending his grandchildren’s sporting events and many activities.

In later years, Bob was famous for going to the Waukon Wellness Center in the mornings to walk and visit.  He enjoyed sledding with his family, which he did well into his 80s. His favorite holidays were St. Patrick’s Day and April Fools; he was always playing practical jokes on family and friends and he even loved having a good cake fight.

Survivors include his children: Mary Ann (Mick) Olson of Postville, Sarah (Ray) Grover of Colo, Patti (Jim) Klika of Louisville, KY, Jack (Cindy) Heffern of Harpers Ferry, Nita (Rob) Grangaard of Waterville, Julie (Jeff) Pladsen of Shellsburg and Jeannie (Mark) Haight of Solon; 29 grandchildren; five great-grandchildren, including Baby O’Neill due in December; and a sister-in-law, Joan Heffern of Cedar Rapids. He is preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Bernadine “Bernie”, who died in 2008; two sons, Rich and Danny Heffern; five grandchildren, Richie, Jackalyn, Joseph, Jacob and Mary; two brothers, Cletus (Betty) and Don Heffern; and a sister, Donna (Walt) Curtin.

Casketbearers are Bob Olson, Patrick Grover, Jimmy Klika, Danny Heffern, Gunnar Grangaard, Alex Pladsen and Brian Haight. Honorary casketbearers are Alex, Andrew and Asher Grover, Jesse Pladsen, Trevor, Christian and Denver Haight, Harold Welch and Bernard Welsh.

Online condolences may be left at

Rate this article: 
No votes yet