Edith Kunz Heffner
Edith Kunz Heffner, 89, longtime resident of Rogers, Arkansas, a pillar and beacon of the community, passed away suddenly to an even better life Wednesday evening Dec. 7, 2005. She went out with a flurry of activities reminiscent of the energy of her earlier life -- listening to her daughter sing with a ladies' Christian singing group on the Fayetteville square Friday night from the comfort of the car -- exclaiming over the beauties of a trip to Branson on Saturday with the widows and widowers at Southside, and entertaining them all with her wit and remembrances of her growing up years on the large farm that bordered Dixieland, south of Oak Street -- beaming at a choral concert on Sunday after church -- inspiring others with her joy and love at a choral concert Tuesday night. Her singing and readings -- her Bible classes and music classes -- her work in the community -- just her zest for life have blessed many. She is greatly missed.
Her parents, Peter and Cora Layman Kunz moved to Rogers, the "promised land" with its abundance of fruit, with their children, Eddie and Edith, in 1920, from Olustee, Okla. The Kuntz family was a musical family who thrived on the Oak Hill community togetherness. From her days at Oak Hill School, winning the 50-yard dash until there were no competitors willing to enter and winning academic contests at the district school rallies in Northwest Arkansas, to her graduation from Rogers High School, to studying voice at the university, Edith gave her all. Amid her work at Stroud's Department Store and the demand for her singing and readings, her true love was her Lord. She was a Bible teacher who inspired as she taught in the First Christian Church downtown, then Christ's Church, then Southside Church of Christ. Her greatest joy was praising God and leading others to walk with Him.
In 1920, another family moved to Rogers from Bonham, Texas -- the J.O. Heffners. Even though he graduated from high school the year Edith was born, 1916, their bachelor son Frederick finally made his wishes known at the nudging of a Christian widow lady. Frederick proposed on the first date, but Edith did not immediately consent. At the end of the week, all the Christian Church activities, especially with his 1925 Model T truck, and Edith's having watched this distinguished gentleman from her perch in the choir, finally won her heart as they wed in 1944.
Frederick and Edith moved out to the Heffner home outside Avoca and enjoyed neighbors there before moving into town to 415 W. Maple, where they were living when the Lord blessed them with their pride and joy, Rebecca and Peter. Edith still found time to preside over the Rogers Garden Club, Avoca and Benton County Home Demonstration Clubs and Beta Sigma Phi sorority. After moving north of town to a beautiful acreage, Rogers Superintendent Greer Lingle approached and hired Edith to teach music at the Garfield and Lowell elementary schools. The drive was a joy matched only by her love for the children and her abilities to bring out in them a true love of music; its components, the composers and their works.
During that time, Edith served as president of the Rogers Association for Childhood Education and traveled to the nation's capital to represent them at convention. Community Choir and singing Handel's "Messiah" with her daughter at her side and her son playing violin in the orchestra, as well as caring for her brother Eddie and then Frederick, were some of the joys of this servant.
In 1978, she retired to enjoy her first grandchild, Meredith Hedges, then Natalie Hedges, Bryan Heffner, Alison Heffner, then Brianna Heffner, then great-grandchildren, Caleb and Kylee Heffner. Just recently, Edith retired from years of service as secretary and cheerleader of the Benton County Retired Teachers.
Edith is survived by a family who loves her. Her son, Peter and wife Joan Heffner, Bryan, Alison, Brianna, Caleb and Kylee, all live in the Fort Worth, Texas, area; her daughter, Rebecca and husband Scott Hedges, last year moved back to Rogers from their home in Fairfax, Va., to care for Edith. Meredith Hedges lives in Annapolis, Md., and Natalie and husband Shane Hughes, live in Abilene, Texas.
Visitation will be from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 12 at Southside Church of Christ.
Funeral service will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 13 at Southside Church of Christ in Rogers with Jim Caldwell officiating. Burial will be in Rogers Cemetery.
E-mail condolences to the family at email@example.com.
Arrangements are by Callison-Lough Funeral Service in Rogers.
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