Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Rest in peace: Deacon Thomas Heafey

Story and photo by Eric Meisfjord, Editor, Inland Register

(From the October 15, 2015 edition of the Inland Register)

Deacon Thomas Heafey (IR photo)

Deacon Thomas Heafey, ordained for the Spokane Diocese June 24, 1999, died Sept. 29. He was 67 years old.

The vigil service was Oct. 5 at St. Joseph Parish, Otis Orchards, where he had ministered as a deacon; the funeral Mass was celebrated there the next day. Committal with military honors was at Queen of Peace Cemetery, Spokane.

Deacon Heafey was born in Montague, Mass., on March 24, 1948. He served in the U.S. Air Force as a Survival Instructor, stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base during the Vietnam War. He graduated from Spokane Falls Community College and the University of Massachusetts.

He worked at Deaconess Medical Center as a Nursing Supervisor and later as Assistant Director of Patient Care Services.

Deacon Heafey was a registered nurse; most of his career was spent as a health care investigator for the Washington State Department of Health. He also worked as a deputy sheriff in Hampshire County, Mass., and as an investigator for the Spokane County Medical Examiner. In addition, he volunteered as a Commissioned Spokane Reserve Police Officer.

He was a motorcycle enthusiast and served as president of the Evergreen Road Riders and as vice-president of the Gold Wing Riders local chapter.

Deacon Heafey was a chaplain and member of the Knights of Columbus.

Besides his parish assignment, he served as an officer on the Board of Directors of Immaculate Heart Retreat Center, Spokane.

The death of Deacon Tom Heafey “reminds us of the fragility of this earthly tent in which we live,” said Bishop William Skylstad, who ordained Deacon Heafey. “Yet through his person – as married to Kathy, and as a deacon – he demonstrated a genuine and joyful spirit of service in our diocese that inspires all of us who knew him. Once again we observe the loving support of a deacon’s wife in his ministry and his love of diaconal service in our local Church – truly a faithful response to God’s grace as husband and deacon. We should be grateful for that gift. May Kathy be consoled at this time of his death, and may we all pray that he now enjoy eternal rest and peace.”

Deacon John Sicilia, Director of Deacons for the Spokane Diocese, spoke of knowing Deacon Heafey for 30 years.

“When I was going through the CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) Program at Deaconess Hospital, Tom was the night supervisor, and we spent many nights working together,” said Deacon Sicilia. “Deacon Tom was a very compassionate person. He was very supportive and active in the diaconal community, and always present at all our functions, no matter how he felt physically.”

In addition to his normal liturgical functions, Deacon Heafey was involved in ministry to the poor, the homebound, and the elderly, as well as social justice and peace issues, said Deacon Sicilia.

He characterized Deacon Heafey as “a very prayerful man who loved his family and God very much. He will be greatly missed by all who came in contact with him.”

Just prior to ordination, he was asked what he would like people to know about him. He wrote:

“Perhaps the most important thing to know about me is my love for God and his people – hoping to serve him in a way which might just begin to return all the blessings he has given to me.”

Deacon Heafey is survived by his wife, Kathy; sons, Scott E. Heafey (Julie) of Spokane and Gary T. Heafey (Keri) of Las Vegas, Nev.; a sister, Joyce Chunglo, of Hadley, Mass.; two grandsons; and several nieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions may be made to Immaculate Heart Retreat Center.

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