Anita Heffernon passed away at her home March 27 after a long illness. She was born in 1921 to Louise (Koehler) and David Breschel in Orange, N.J. She trained as a registered nurse in Connecticut and enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a navy nurse during World War II.
In 1945, she married Henry Shank and they resided for many years in Pound Ridge, N.Y., where they raised their family. During this time, she resumed her nursing career at Greenwich Hospital in Greenwich, Conn.
Mrs. Heffernon was devoted to her medical career and in her fifties, obtained her bachelor’s degree and became a nurse epidemiologist. After Henry’s death, she moved to the southwest to be closer to her beloved sisters. With her characteristic indomitable spirit, she forged a new chapter in her life. She met and married George Heffernon in Peoria. They enjoyed several happy years together, traveling the world and enjoying life to the fullest.
Mrs. Heffernon loved to travel and throughout her life visited almost every corner of the globe. One of her most memorable trips was an African safari, where she marveled at the beauty and diversity of African wildlife. She had a lifelong love of horses, and as a young woman, taught dressage in New York. In her Arizona years, she enjoyed riding the trails around Phoenix.
Mrs. Heffernon loved visiting the coast of Maine in the summer, eating lobster, going for boat rides and reconnecting with her Northeast clan, especially the newest love of her life, her great-grandson Mikey. She was a gregarious and loyal friend and will be remembered for her generosity to friends and family.
She was predeceased by her husbands, Henry Shank and George Heffernon; and by her sisters, Eleanor Childs and Gloria Colacurci. She is survived by her son, Scott Shank, and his wife, Judith, of Maine; her son, Keith Shank of New York; her grandson, Brendan Shank, and his wife, Julie, of Massachusetts; her grandson, Colin Shank, of New Hampshire, and by her great-grandson, Michael. The family is grateful to the staff of Hospice of the Valley for their care and compassion to Mrs. Heffernon during her final illness. If desired, memorial contributions may be made to the Hospice of the Valley Fund Development, 1510 Flower St., Phoenix, AZ 85014, or to a charity of your choice.
At Mrs. Heffernon’s request, there will be no services.