M. Gary Heffner Of Auburn, WA, passed away peacefully on Monday, August 11, 2014, surrounded by his family, after a long battle with leukemia and Parkinson's disease. He was 77. Gary had a lifetime commitment to his community that started when he worked as a police officer at the University of Washington while earning his degree. He had a passion for science, especially chemistry, which led to him pursuing a career in pharmacy. In his 47-year career as a pharmacist Gary owned 4 independent pharmacies in South King County, including Family Pharmacy in Federal Way, where he worked until he retired. Family Pharmacy was truly a family business. Gary was the sole pharmacist, and his wife Ann, and daughters Andrea and Lisa, all worked at the pharmacy as pharmacy technicians. He was legendary for his empathy and commitment to his patients, even giving out his home phone number in case they needed help after hours. Gary was a trailblazer in the field of pharmacy, becoming one of the first pharmacists in Washington State to be a member of the Professional Compounding Centers of America (PCCA), an organization devoted to promoting the science of creating customized medications for patients. His daughter Lisa is proud to continue his legacy in pharmacy as a member of PCCA herself. Gary's pioneering spirit extended far beyond his professional life, and into his personal life as well. He was one of the first members of REI, and as an avid outdoorsman climbed most of the mountains in the Pacific Northwest. He was passionate about the environment, and, consequently, alternative energy. At the home he built with his wife, Ann, he had multiple setups for solar energy, waterwheels and windmills. Since Gary's enthusiasm for alternative energy began long before it entered the mainstream, he crafted many of these setups himself. Gary's adventurous nature also steered him into a serious hobby of racing cars. His love for classic cars and motorcycles lasted throughout his life. Above all else, Gary's greatest joy in life was his family. Gary is survived by his wife of 37 years, Ann, and his 4 children, Kim (Jim), Kenny (Denise), Andrea (Chris), and Lisa (Kyle), as well as his 6 grandchildren. The service will be held at Saint Francis Catholic Church in Burien on Monday, August 18th, at 11am. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you make a charitable donation in Gary's name to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. Please visit yahnandson.com to share memories and sign the online guest book.
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Yahn & Son Funeral Home & Crematory
55 W Valley Hwy S Auburn, WA 98071
Published in News Tribune (Tacoma) on Aug. 15, 2014