Nina Pearl Heffington

September 19, 1934December 26, 2020

Nina Pearl Dixon Heffington September 19, 1934 - December 26, 2020

Nina was born on September 19, 1934 in Ada, Oklahoma to William Henry and Mattie Lou (Whitaker) Dixon. She went to her heavenly home on December 26, 2020 at age 86.

Nina grew up in Chowchilla on her family farm with her six older brothers and one younger sister, all of whom she had an exceedingly close relationship with for her entire life. She attended local elementary schools and was a proud graduate of Chowchilla Union High School. She married her high school sweetheart, Billy Joe Heffington. Together, they raised two sons, Steven and Jeffery, and one daughter, Nina Jo (Jodi).

As a military wife, Nina excelled at making life-long friends wherever the Air Force sent their family, including memorable assignments in Alaska, Arizona, and Texas. It was important to Nina to make a house a home for her family wherever they were. She often expressed pride in her ability to set up an entire house in 24 hours upon arrival. She encouraged her children to be involved in many activities: she was a Den Mother for Steven’s Boy Scout Troop, a sports booster for Jeffery, and an amazing mom to Jodi.

Upon retirement from military life, Nina and Bill returned to their hometown of Chowchilla and both started working at their beloved Chowchilla Union High School. Nina took the position of Food Services Director and was best known among students and staff for her famous spaghetti and cinnamon rolls.

In the late 1980s, Bill and Nina purchased a historic home on the corner of 8th and Robertson Boulevard in Chowchilla. Together, they gutted and restored the home to its original beauty and it became a gathering place for friends and family.

Nina loved people and was happiest surrounded by loved ones. Her porch overflowed with extended family on special events, including the Chowchilla Parade. Nina was a natural hostess. Rarely a day went by that a family member, friend, or long-lost acquaintance couldn’t be found in her living room enjoying a glass of ice tea or piece of her meringue pie and sharing stories. She loved to make the holidays special, hosting Christmas Eve for her family and waking up early on Christmas Day to make Biscuits and Chocolate Gravy.

Nina was a talented seamstress and took great joy in sharing her talents with anyone who needed their pants hemmed, a dress taken in, or a variety of other projects. No sewing project was too big or too complicated for Nina.

Nina was a member of the United Methodist Church in Chowchilla. During her years there, she was active in the UMC Women’s Group where she made some of her most treasured friends. At the closure of UMC, she became a member of Cornerstone Community Church.

In June 2019, she moved to Pacifica Senior Living in Merced. In true Nina fashion, she didn’t miss a beat making friends with fellow residents and staff, decorating her new apartment to look like a miniature home, and purchasing a coffee pot to host new and old friends. The Pacifica Staff often mentioned that she had more visitors than any other resident. Never one to sit still, she participated in every activity and she even took on the role of exercise group leader and created an Air Force Wives club with the other residents.

Nina lived a full and vibrant life. She loved it all: organizing her high school class reunions, being a member of Eastern Star, reading biographies, people watching, traveling the other states with her husband, and corresponding with friends and family across the country. Nina had many significant roles in her life, but there is no doubt that the role she valued most was that of loving wife, sister, mother, and grandmother.

Nina was preceeded in death by her beloved husband, Billy Joe Heffington, her dear son, Jeffery Heffington and his wife Sheila, her parents, William Henry Dixon and Mattie Lou (Whitaker) Dixon, her older brothers: Truitt, Leonard, Bill, Aubrey, LP, and Eugene Dixon, and many brothers- and sisters-in-law.

She leaves behind her son Steven and his wife Jan, her daughter Jodi, and the blessing of six grandchildren: Tracy and Lisa Heffington; Christopher, Michael, and Joseph Heffington; and Matthew Medrano, as well as three great grandchildren. She is also survived by her cherished sister Shirley (Dixon) Cooper and her husband Robert, as well as her in-laws: Roma Dixon; Jewel (Heffington) Green; Joybelle (Heffington) Haines; Paul and Carol Heffington, and many special nieces and nephews.

The family would like nothing more than to gather together and celebrate Nina’s life; however, a private graveside service is being planned for immediate family. A celebration of life is being planned for a safe date in the fall.

The family would like to express their heartfelt gratitude to: Pastor Logan Beardsley of Cornerstone Community Church; the staff of Pacifica Senior Living; and the incredible ICU nurses and doctors at Mercy Hospital for providing compassion and comfort to Nina.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Merced Rescue Mission, an organization that meant a great deal to Nina and her family.


  • Steve Heffington (Janice), Son
  • Nina Jo Medrano, Daughter
  • 6, Grandchildren
  • 3, Great Grandchildren
  • Numerous, Nieces and Nephews
  • William Dixon, Father (deceased)
  • Mattie (Whitaker) Dixon, Mother (deceased)
  • Billy Heffington, Husband (deceased)
  • Jeffery Heffington (Sheila), Son (deceased)
  • Truitt Dixon, Brother (deceased)
  • Leonard Dixon, Brother (deceased)
  • Bill Dixon, Brother (deceased)
  • Aubrey Dixon, Brother (deceased)
  • LP Dixon, Brother (deceased)
  • Eugene Dixon, Brother (deceased)


Nina Pearl Heffington

have a memory or condolence to add?

Marlene Houston

January 5, 2021

Jodi and Steve....your mother had a beautiful spirit. She loved her family so much. I enjoyed our occasional visits at Mc Donalds and Speedy and I enjoyed visiting her at her home in Chowchilla. She was such a good person and so welcoming. She will be missed. I know that God will have a special place for her in heaven. I am so sorry for your loss.
Marlene and Speedy

Jeff & Dana Troost

January 2, 2021

It was a true blessing to meet Nina and the rest of the Dixon Family when we started attending Cornerstone. Nina had such a sweet spirit, she was kind and caring, a joy to be around. We loved Nina and are so thankful God let us get to know her. Prayers for your family during this difficult season, we know this year has been very difficult and the journey of loss is one none of us wishes to go through. Sincerely, Jeff & Dana Troost

Pamela Smith

December 30, 2020

Dear Steve and family.. and Jodi and family.. i wanted to send my thoughts and prayers to you all.. your mom will be sorely missed .. she was a great lady.. and a wonderful aunt.. i can still remember her chocolate gravy!! We loved it!! So sorry for your loss.. hugs Bob and Pam Smith

Rhonda Cederlof Stewart

December 30, 2020

So sorry to hear about your Mother's passing. Just know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.
With loving thoughts,
Bob Cederlof, Rhonda & Frank Stewart