Mr. John David Heefner
Heefner, John David died peacefully in his sleep April 15, 2019. He was surrounded by loving family and friends. John was born in Anamosa, Iowa, on January 4, 1941. He was high school valedictorian and received his bachelor's and medical degrees from the University of Iowa, the latter with Phi Beta Kappa. He completed his medical residency at the University of Cincinnati and studied psychosomatic medicine at the University of Minnesota. He served two years in the Navy. John was a dedicated psychiatrist and care provider who believed in connecting with each individual. Part of this deep empathy grew from his own efforts to come to terms with his homosexuality. John came out to his family and friends at a time when being gay was anathema to respectable family life. Despite the odds, he lived with elegance and grace. John had a passion for the arts, especially Wagnerian opera. He was a patron of the arts in the Twin Cities. He enjoyed traveling the world, including to the Met in New York and the Bayreuth Festival in Germany. He threw parties with flair and over-the-top floral arrangements. John was a painter and a musician; he played the flute and baritone. He read voluminously. An active member of Westminster Presbyterian for four decades, John served as a deacon, elder, volunteer at the counseling center, and choir member. He often organized the beautiful Christmas dinners. He made all of his grandchildren feel like royalty. He delighted in building sand castles and dollhouses; making up imaginary worlds and reading stories. He taught his family how to live creatively and appreciate life as an art. John is survived by his lifelong friend and wife, Elisabeth (Butschi); children Heather, Carson, and Gretchen, sons-in-law Douglas and Brian; brother Jim and family; and, eight beloved grandchildren. In lieu of flowers please send donations to the Westminster Presbyterian Church Counseling Center. Memorial serves will be held at 6pm on Sunday, May 12, at Westminster Church.
Published on April 21, 2019
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