Obituary of Edward Thomas Heffron
Edward Thomas Heffron, of Iowa City, died unexpectedly on June 14, 2023, in Iowa City, Iowa. He was 77 years old.
Ed was born February 20, 1946, the youngest of seven children of Michael and Agnes (Murphy) Heffron. Growing up on the family farm near Georgetown, Iowa, he rode horses, swam in farm ponds, and played sports—a constant source of stories and memories he frequently shared. He graduated from Albia High School in 1964 and received an Associate’s degree from Ottumwa Heights College. In 1971, he graduated from the University of Iowa with a BA in journalism. In that same year, one of his photographs of the Vietnam War protests on campus was printed on the front page of The Daily Iowan—the beginning of a lifetime career (and hobby) in photography.
He received an MA in Education from the University of Iowa in 1975 and worked for many years as a medical photographer in the College of Medicine. He later joined the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, serving as medical and research photographer until his retirement in 2010.
Ed married Louise Murray in St. Colemans’ Cathedral in Cobh, Ireland, in 1984. He was enthusiastic about his Irish heritage, and thought it possible that ancestors of both their families had crossed paths when migrating to America. Dear friends Michael and Rebecca Turney joined them for the ceremony and celebration.
Ed and Louise loved to travel and joined the Iowa Mountaineers to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in 1982. Ed was chased by trumpeting elephants in one of the game parks, perhaps more adventure than he had hoped for. He also traveled with the group to descend to the bottom of the Grand Canyon - twice.
With the Iowa City Area Group Sierra Club, Ed and Louise hiked on the Appalachian Trail, where it rained so much that water flowed over their boot tops. Ed also horse-packed, llama-packed, and bicycled in Colorado and Wyoming, flipped a kayak in the Big Kahuna Rapids on the Snake River, walked on a glacier in Canada, and photographed the mass ascension of more than 600 hot air balloons at the International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque. They joined their brother-in-law Rob Gertler’s medical teaching group as photographers in Vietnam in 2015, also visiting Cambodia on that trip.
Ed was devoted to his family. He helped his siblings and spent many hours talking with them and driving them to medical appointments. He helped care for his mother-in-law for many years. Ed was an enthusiastic reader who loved learning about history, sharing his favorite books and studying math into his 70s. His enthusiasm for discussing history and ideas made him a favorite of his extended family. In retirement, he set up a wood working shop and found joy in solving problems, such as constructing a peanut butter mixer. Ed loved his dogs, keeping them and himself in shape on many long walks.
Ed is survived by his wife, Louise; brothers Patrick (Linda, deceased) and Michael; and sister-in law Kathleen (spouse of David); brother-in-law Tom (Molly) Murray; sisters-in-law Linda Murray and Marge Murray (Rob Gertler); nieces and nephews in the Heffron family: Paul, Steven, Christine, Jim, Don, Maureen, Alicia; nieces in the Murray family: Sarah and Kelly; nephews in the Gertler-Murray family: Dave and Jeff. He is also survived by dear friend Shirle Dohrman, his Iowa City Men’s Group, and cherished godchildren John, Eric, and Amanda Dohrman and Shannon (Turney) Vossler.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Michael and Agnes; siblings Sister Kayleen, John, David, and Vincent; sister-in-law Linda (spouse of Patrick); and life-long friend, Ron Dohrman.
In accordance with Ed’s wishes, there will be no funeral services. Two of Ed’s favorite charities are Medical Education Exchange Teams (https://www.meet international.org/) and the Bur Oak Land Trust (https://buroaklandtrust.org/).
Thank you to neighbors, friends, and first responders for your help and kindness