Thomas Anthony Heffernan
October 25, 1944 – April 27, 2015
Thomas Anthony Heffernan died of complications from Parkinson's Disease Monday, April 27, 2015 at his home in Red Bluff surrounded by his family. He was born October 25, 1944 in Detroit, MI to Bernice Borchard Heffernan and Thomas Edward Heffernan. The family moved back to the Borchard family farm in Santa Ana, CA when Tom Sr. retired from the FBI. Tom Jr. and his three brothers, Robert, John, and Patrick grew up with their grandparents on the farm and their father practiced law in Orange County. This began Tom's love of agriculture and he participated in 4H, raised rabbits and steers, and assisted in the farm tasks. He attended St. Anne's Catholic Elementary School and graduated from Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana in 1962. Tom followed his agricultural roots to UC Davis, graduating in 1966 with a BS in Agricultural Production. He was in ROTC during college and upon graduation, enlisted in the US Army as a Chemical Corp officer, assigned to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal in Denver, CO. He left the military in 1968. He was accepted to the Anderson School of Management at UCLA. While there he met his wife of 45 years, Claire Wichmann Heffernan at the Newman Catholic Center and they were married April 4, 1970. He graduated in 1970 with an MBA degree and was hired as an Assistant Regional Supervisor at the Federal Intermediate Credit Bank in Berkeley, CA. In 1971, he transferred back to Ventura, CA as a Assistant Manager at Production Credit Association. Tom and Claire's first son, Brian was born in Ventura. Tom's passion for agriculture prevailed and in 1972, the family moved to El Centro, CA to farm on land the Borchard family continued to work. During this transition to full time farming, he worked as an Agricultural Lending Representative for Wells Fargo Bank in Holtville, CA. His four other children, Mark, Maureen, Katherine and Craig were born while he was raising row crops, seed crops, and alfalfa. The family was kept busy participating in 4H, school and Catholic parish activities. Tom was recognized as a leader in agriculture and was a member of the California Agricultural Leadership Program, Class IV, in 1973. He was a Rotary Member, served on the Imperial County Irrigation Water Conservation Committee, was a board member and then chairman of the Industry Advisory Committee for the UC Meloland Field Station in Imperial County. In 1988, the Heffernan Family moved Red Bluff, CA and Tom became general manager of Pacific Farms in Gerber, CA. He managed the ranch until his failing health forced his retirement in 1998. He was instrumental in the campaign "No Water Export" from Tehema County, served as director for the Tehema County Farm Bureau, the Northern California Federal Land Bank, Sacramento Valley Landowners Association, Sunsweet Prune Growers, Inc., and Diamond Walnut Growers, Inc.. He was a member of the Shasta College Agriculture and Natural Resources Advisory Committee. He was a member and Chairman of the Tehema County Groundwater Managment District Study Committee. In 1993 he was selected as Tehema County Farmer of the Year by the Red Bluff Kiwanis Club. He was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, and a supporter of Sacred Heart Catholic School and Mercy High School. He was an advocate for workers rights and providing for the poor. He is survived by his wife Claire, his children, Brian and Mary Heffernan of Fort Jones, CA, Mark and Sarah Heffernan of Mountain View, CA, Maureen and Doug Matthews of Chico, CA, Katherine and Donald Doverspike of Red Bluff, CA, and Craig and Andrea Heffernan of Oregon City,OR, 17 grandchildren, and many loyal friends throughout California. He was preceded in death by granddaughter Elise Maria Heffernan in 2011. Rosary to be held at Sacred Heart Church, April 30, 2015 at 7 pm. Funeral services will be Friday May 1, 2015 at 10 am at Sacred Heart Church. In leiu of flowers Tom wished for donations to be made in his honor to Mercy High School and Sacred Heart Catholic School in Red Bluff.
- Final Resting Place, Mass of a Christian Burial, Rosary