Francis Joseph Heffron died, surrounded by his family, on September 21, 2018, in the Westhampton home that was so beloved by him and his wife of more than 50 years, Eleanor Larkin Heffron, who died in 2004. He was 86.
His five children, Kevin, Brian, Megan, Sheila, and Colin, their spouses, his 12 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren survive him. He is also survived by his companion of several years, Robin Hoefer.
Survivors said they miss his wit, storytelling, generous heart, and ability to infuse every situation with humor and spirit. He taught his children and grandchildren to work hard and be kind, and set the example of enjoying a long life of purpose and joy.
He would say that his most impressive accomplishment was to persuade Eleanor Veronica Larkin, a five-foot-two-inch strawberry blonde captain of the St. Michael’s basketball cheerleaders, who he described as his “love and luck,” to be his wife. They met at age 15 and were married two weeks after his college graduation in 1953. Together they raised and educated five children, who say they owe their success and achievements to the values instilled by their parents. Their home was always filled with humor, activity, and the festive celebrations of countless milestones recorded by a large family.
Mr. Heffron was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, on October 15, 1931, the only child of Violet (Brown) and Francis Heffron. After attending St. Peter’s Prep and Fordham University, where he was elected president of his senior class, he earned his MBA from New York University. He then began a more than 30-year career in the Bell system. His tenure included vice president-comptroller at New York Telephone, vice president of manufacturing at Western Electric, executive vice president of staff at Bell Laboratories, and executive vice president of planning and administration at AT&T. One of his favorite assignments was as general manager of Nassau and Suffolk counties for New York Telephone in the early 1970s, as it introduced him and his family to the joys of summering in Westhampton, a tradition the family continues today.
Upon his retirement from the Bell system, Mr. Heffron became the chairman and chief executive officer of Covidea, a joint venture start-up formed by AT&T, Chemical Bank, Time Inc., and Bank of America to provide internet-based transactional electronic services to banks and consumers. Following this, he was appointed dean of Fordham University’s College of Business Administration. His final career experience prior to retiring in 1995 was as president and CEO of Major League Baseball International Partnership, a joint venture between Major League Baseball and NBC designed to introduce baseball to new markets in Asia, South America and Europe.
Mr. Heffron also served as a volunteer for Brooklyn’s Catholic Charities and the United States Olympic Committee, rising to the position of National Finance Chair. He was the original do-it-yourselfer, making everything from furniture to bread and was well known for hosting a weekly movie night during the summer for his grandchildren, which would culminate in his own freshly-churned ice cream. He was a gentleman who always wore a blazer, tie, horn-rimmed glasses and bucks, vestiges of a gentler time.
Visitation will be held at Werner-Rothwell Funeral Home in Westhampton Beach on Friday, September 28, from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m., and on Saturday, September 29, from 9 to 10:30 a.m., prior to a funeral Mass at the Church of the Immaculate Conception on Quiogue at 11 a.m.
Memorial donations may be made to East End Hospice, eeh.org.
One fine body…