Tuesday, December 7, 2021

In Memory of Phillip Edwin Heffelfinger



Skip passed away on May 11, 2021, at Physicians Regional Medical Center in Naples, FL.

Preceded in death by his parents Harry and Marylou Heffelfinger, mother and father-in-law Dorothy and Charles Roth, Sister-in-law Sharon (Krogseng). Survived by his loving wife of 56 years Joyce C. Heffelfinger and sister Missi Bradshaw – Pratt.

Skip was a loving father to his three children and their spouses, Tracy (Minervini) and husband Dominick; Troy and wife Heather; Dana (Almond) and husband Chris. Skip cherished every moment he spent with his seven wonderful grandchildren, Samantha, Nicolette, Dominick, Cameron, Laney, Anniston, and Easton. Skip just became a proud Great Grandfather to Lilah Jayne. 

Submitted Photo | Phillip Edwin Heffelfinger.

Born in Newark, NJ, Skip lived in North Arlington before his family relocated to Aruba, where his father was Captain of the Esso Fleet. Skippy started his first job on the island as a lifeguard. A few years later, the family was transferred back to the United States where they started their new life in Nutley, NJ. 

After graduation from Nutley High School, and being nominated as the class clown, Skip went on to work at the Kearfott Corp. He was part of the tri-state skydivers First Jump Class on May 12, 1963. 

In 1963, Skip began his 31-year career as a Firefighter in his beloved hometown of Nutley, NJ. He was continually honing his skills and furthering his knowledge and education. Skip attended Rutgers University, where he became an Arson and Fire Investigator. He completed courses at the NJ State Fire College as well as the National Fire Academy, and in 1977, Skip also became an EMT. He attained the rank of Captain, which he retired as in 1994. 

In 1980, Skip began his other, much loved career with the Benihana Grand Prix. He worked alongside Rocky Aoki, where he continued his dedication to the Grand Prix. Skip received the 22nd Annual Caesar’s Marine Academy Award from Vapor Trails Boating news. In 1995, he retired from his career in racing with the Trump Castle Grand National Championships held in Atlantic City NJ alongside Donald Trump. 

After his retirement as a Fireman, Skip went on to become the Top Salesman from 1994-1997 for E-One/Absolute Fire Protection. He then became the Director of Rescue & Safety for the United States Offshore Racing Association. His passion for the sport has been acknowledged through the many awards he received over a 13-year period. 

Skip was an integral part of the creation of the St Mary’s Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps, founded in 1968. He was also a proud member of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, where he completed courses in Boating skills and Seamanship. 

Skip was active in several organizations throughout the years, including: 

  • Volunteer Fireman (before becoming an active Fireman)
  • President of the Nutley Firemen’s Benevolent Association
  • Member of the Nutley Fire Department’s Color Guard 
  • Active volunteer with The History Flights
  • President of the Towne House Square Condo Association for 8 years

Upon retirement, Skip and Joyce retired to Marco Island, Florida where he enjoyed entertaining and spending time with his family and friends.

Skippy was known for his immense sense of humor and witty sarcasm, always ensuring that everyone around him was laughing and smiling. He truly loved life and lived it to the fullest, he did not have any regrets!

A Celebration of Life will take place on Saturday, May 22, 2021, at 1 PM at Hodges-Josberger Funeral Home. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service.



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