Robert E. Hefferman

BELLINGHAM, Mass. – Robert E. Hefferman of Bellingham, Mass., joined the choir invisible on October 9, 2020, at the age of 87 while comforted, as always, by the presence of his lifelong love and wife of 63 years, Marlene Haskell Hefferman. Born on March 23, 1933, in Auburn, Maine, to Gerald and Maria Hefferman, Bob met Marlene sophomore year at Edward Little High School in Auburn. Bob and Marlene graduated from Bates College in 1955 ? Bob as class valedictorian with a B.A. in English. Although his heart never left Maine, Bob and Marlene settled in Massachusetts where they raised their three children. Bob spent a year at Harvard Divinity School before earning his M.A. degree in English from Boston University. Bob joined the faculty of Dean College in 1958, where he taught English, served as Chair of the English Department and Dean of Faculty, and ruffling more than a few administrators’ feathers before retiring in 1997.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by his sister, Lois Hefferman of Auburn, Maine, and two of his three children, daughter Elizabeth Ooi (husband Boon), son Nathaniel (wife Bobbie), and daughter-in-law Elizabeth Barrette Hefferman, (wife of his late son Matthew). Bob loved spending time with his seven grandchildren and their families, Robert Ooi (wife Beth), Maura Ooi (husband Andrew), Gerald Hefferman (wife Elizabeth), Scott Hefferman, Patrick Hefferman (wife Rachel), Liam Hefferman and Owen Hefferman and his three great-grandchildren, Nellie, Calvin, and Asher. His love extended to welcoming the late Avery Plaw, his wife Jane, and daughters Misha and Sasha, as well as Rosy White of Scotland, into the extended family.

Bob was a constant presence in his family’s lives, proudly supporting their successes and shared passions. Whether humming along and whispering lines at his grandchildren’s band and theater performances or questioning refs at their baseball, basketball, hockey, lacrosse, and soccer games, there’s hardly an auditorium, bleacher, or sideline in New England Bob hasn’t occupied, or backroad he hasn’t traveled getting there. And Bob loved to travel, from his early camping trips with his young family, to the many English and Irish vacations he took with his wife upon retirement. A great storyteller and questionable comedian, he found equal joy in his audience’s laughs and groans. Bob had a strong commitment to doing the right thing despite the price, and listed it among his proudest accomplishments to be the only faculty member at Dean College to have received not one, but two letters of censure from the College president ? for organizing a “Day of Teaching” to address student and faculty concerns over the Vietnam War.

Due to current COVID-19 conditions, there will be no visitation or funeral service at this time.

Please refer to the website of the Ginley Funeral Home of Franklin, Mass., ( to leave your remembrances, favorite stories about Bob, and messages of condolences.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a children’s charity of your choice – such as Save the Children, Smile Train, or any others –

in memory of Bob.

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