John G. “Jerry” Heffernan, 83, Army, Coast Guard Veteran

John G. “Jerry” Heffernan, 83, of Haverhill passed away July 7, in Methuen.

Heffernan loved animals and took in every stray that ever showed up, and took his family on vacations to Old Orchard Beach where we would hold onto his shoulders and would swim out to what seemed like the horizon line.

Born in Haverhill, to John P. and Mary Cronin Heffernan, he attended St. James School and served his country in the Army and then with the U.S. Coast Guard.

He is survived by his wife, Edith McGee Heffernan of Haverhill; children, Gerald P. Heffernan and his partner, Sally Mank of Haverhill, Mary Heffernan and her partner, Brant Charron of Haverhill, Joseph Heffernan and his wife, Anne of Plaistow, N.H., Sheila Heffernan and her partner, Mark Reusch of Haverhill; favorite grandson, Ryan Heffernan; brothers, Paul Heffernan of Newton, N.H., Donald Heffernan of West Palm Beach, Fla., and David Heffernan and his wife, Dottie of North Conway, N.H.; and many nieces and nephews.

The family thanks the doctors who managed to give his children nearly a decade of extra time with their father, including  Drs. Sunny, Dr. Tarkan, and Dr. Oettinger. They also thank  Andrea, the ICU nurse at Merrimack Valley Hospital who did what his family and doctors were unable to do— convince him to undergo a procedure which led the way to extending his life.

Memorial services are private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to the MSPCA at Nevins Farm or to the Disabled American Veterans of Massachusetts.