Thomas Carroll Heffernan

August 19, 1939 ~ September 8, 2022 (age 83) 83 Years Old


At 83 years, Thomas Carroll Heffernan passed away peacefully on September 8th in Laurinburg, NC.

A memorial service will be held in Laurinburg at a later date. 

Born in Hyannis Massachusetts to Mary (Sullivan) and Thomas Carroll Heffernan, he grew up in Boston and spent summers on Cape Cod. After graduating from Boston College Tom received his MA from Manchester University, Manchester England and subsequently was awarded his PhD from Sophia University in Tokyo. 

Tom was a poet and an educator. He taught for many years in North Carolina, both as Poet in the Schools and Visiting Artist in Poetry when he travelled the state teaching poetry in the public schools and at several colleges and universities. He has been a lecturer at UNC Pembroke, Visiting Professor of English at St Andrews University, North Carolina and Professor of American Studies at Kagoshima Tanki Daigaku, Japan.

Tom started making haiku in the mid-eighties while living in Okinawa where he co-founded the bilingual haiku magazine Plover/Chidori. His English-language haiku have received a number of Mainichi awards and also Itoen and JAL (Japan Air Lines) prizes; he was awarded the 2006 Kusamakura Grand Prize for haiku. He has published ten books and chapbooks. His The Liam Poems about an ancestral kinsman, the Irish-language Jacobite poet William Heffernan the Blind (as W.B. Yeats called Liam Dall O’hIfearnain), received the 1982 Roanoke-Chowan Prize.

Tom will be greatly missed by his three sisters, Kathleen Heffernan of West Dennis, MA, Joanne Wessling of Weymouth MA, and Carol Cunningham of Quincy MA and his nieces and nephew, Kendra Cunningham of Brooklyn, NY, Peter Connelly of Winchester MA, Kristen Cunningham of Quincy MA, and Moya Connelly of New York, NY and his grand niece and nephew, Neive Connelly and Liam Connelly of Winchester MA. He was predeceased by his sister, MaryBeth Heffernan, and his niece, Elisabeth Wessling.

Bumgarner Family Funeral Service and Crematorium is assisting the family.

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