Fred J. Hefner

Jan. 23, 1929 — Jan. 10, 2021

Fred J. Hefner, 91, of Olympia Fields, Illinois, formerly of Medaryville, passed away Sunday, Jan. 10, at Palos Heights Rehab Center in Crestwood, Illinois. 

He was born on Jan. 23, 1929, in Pontiac, Michigan, to the late Fred G. and Lily (Finney) Hefner. Fred served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He was a member of the Medaryville American Legion Post #96. Fred was a member of St. Henry’s Catholic Church in Medaryville and the Winamac Knights of Columbus Council #1561. Fred retired from the Ford Stamping Plant in Chicago Heights, Illinois, and was a member of the UAW Local #588.

When he was young, Fred’s parents died from Tuberculosis. He and his siblings were raised by family in Galacia, Illinois. When he was a teenager in the 1940s, he started hitchhiking to Alaska from southern Illinois. He made it as far as the Black Hills, South Dakota, where he got a job for Mrs. Duhamel. The Duhamels owned several businesses, including Sitting Bull Crystal Caverns. Fred lived on the grounds by himself in a cabin and had various jobs. He proudly fostered positive relationships with local Native Americans. It was during this time, he met his future wife, Darlene Hassing. Needless to say, Fred had a very adventurous life with no regrets. In 1989, Fred finally made it to Alaska...on a vacation with his family. 

Fred was the loving father of 13 children and 12 foster children. He was the cherished grandfather, great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather of 155 blessings. Fred will be remembered as a good friend to many. Eternal rest grant unto him O’ Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him, Amen.

He is survived by special friend and companion Gail Morgan of Olympia Fields, Illinois; sons: Fred James [Joanne] Hefner of Bureau, Illinois, Steve [Debbie] Hefner of Steger, Illinois, Tom Hefner of Bradenton, Florida, Dennis [fiancée: Nickie] Hefner of Bradenton, Florida, Daniel Hefner of Beaverville, Illinois, David [Kimberly] Hefner of Monticello, and Darren [Shannon] Hefner of Yeoman; daughters: Linda [Tom] Castle of Tyler, Minnesota, Teresa [Richard] Gaston of Burbank, Illinois, Carol [Mike] Muehe of Steger, Illinois, and Lauretta [Ron] Graska of Park Forest, Illinois; 53 grandchildren; 79 great-grandchildren; 10 great-great-grandchildren; sister-in-law Phyllis Hefner; many nieces and nephews; and former spouse Darlene (Hassing) Hefner. 

He was preceded in death by his parents Fred G. and Lily (Finney) Hefner; sons: Tim Hefner and Bill Hefner; daughters-in-law: Diana Hefner and Angie Hefner; sisters: Mildred Trujillo, Wilma Sinagra and Betty Roberts; brother Gene Hefner; sister-in-law Arlene Hefner; brother-in-law John Trujillo; special friend and companion Norma Jean Warren.

Visitation will be from 10-11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 22, at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Winamac. A funeral Mass will follow at 11 a.m. at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Winamac, with Rev. Daniel Shine officiating. Burial will take place at St. Henry Cemetery in Medaryville. The American Legion and VFW will conduct military graveside services. 

Memorial contributions may be made to St. Joseph’s Indian School (PO Box 326 Chamberlain, SD 57326), Boys Town (PO Box 8000 Boys Town, NE 68010), or Covenant House (PO Box 731 New York, NY 10108-0900). Donations may be made online or by mail. The funeral home will have envelopes available the day of services. 

Online tributes may be offered at

(Pulaski County Journal — Jan. 20, 2021)

Pulaski County Journal

114 W. Main Street
Winamac, IN 46996

Office Number: (574) 946-6628
Fax Number: (574) 946-7471

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