Theresia Anna Heffernan 1935 - 2021

Grace Theresia Anna (Matz) Heffernan passed away peacefully on Saturday, April 10, 2021. She was born May 20, 1935, in Los Angeles, California. The eldest daughter of immigrants, she attended Loyola Marymount College in Los Angeles before marrying the love of her life, Stephen F. Heffernan Jr on January 15, 1955. The wife of a career Navy and Air Force man, she lived her life devoted to her family and the church. Theresia and Stephen raised five children.

In 1978, they moved from Las Vegas to Sheridan, Oregon. She worked as a substitute for the Sheridan and Willamina school districts and Dan Corrigan and Associates. Her main passion was working for and teaching religious education at St. James Church in McMinnville and Holy Trinity in Beaverton for many years before retiring shortly before her husband’s death in 2013.

Having lived all over the U.S. and in Germany during her husband’s military career, Theresia learned how to cook all different kinds of foods. She was a wonderful cook and passed this passion on to her oldest son and a grandson. Life was always happening in the kitchen.

Theresia was an amazing woman, always giving of her time, energy and whatever resources she had. She enjoyed fishing with her father and sister, playing the piano, painting and pottery. She was a good listener and always had words of wisdom as well as a hug for anyone. But more than anything, regardless of all things, she loved her family. Gatherings were moments of pure joy for her. Although her family is spread, literally, throughout the world, she prayed for and loved them every day. Her battle with Alzheimer’s dementia took its toll, but she lived happily and peacefully at Parkland Assisted Living. All who knew her said she was always full of joy and would bring a smile to their faces. She loved telling stories and showing off her wedding album.

Theresia was preceded in death by her father, Frank Matz (1976); son-in-law, Russell Potter (2011); mother, Anna Matz (2013); husband, Stephen (2013); son, Stephen III (2015); and sister, Elizabeth (Matz) Link (2021).

She is survived by children, Anna Mary (James Greer) Heffernan, Frank (Diana) Heffernan, Sheila (Gary) Hay, and Amy Potter. She has a dozen grandchildren, Jessica Heffernan, Matthew Heffernan, Maia (Greer) Leonard, Aidan Greer, Nicole Heffernan, Melissa Heffernan, James Hay, Karyn (Hay) Summar, Briana Potter, Trinity Potter, Maura Potter, and Tayla Potter; as well as 13 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild born only days before her passing.

Her love, kindness, care and faith will be remembered and dearly missed by everyone.

A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, April 23, 2021, at St. James Catholic Church in McMinnville, Oregon.


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