Heaney, Anna Lillian "Lill"
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Anna Lillian Heaney, affectionately known as "Lill" to her many friends and family, 92, a resident of Fond du Lac, passed away on February 26, 2014, at St. Agnes Hospital. At the time of her death she was lovingly surrounded by her six children as she peacefully passed away after a short hospitalization.
She was born April 16, 1921 in Freedom, WI, the oldest daughter of the late John and Mary McDaniel Garvey, where she was raised on the family dairy farm, graduating as valedictorian of the Freedom High School class of 1939. Shortly before her graduation, her mother and aunt were tragically killed by a drunken driver, as they walked along a country road to see the senior class play where Lill had earned the lead role.
Lill possessed a lifelong love of learning that led her to a career as a professional educator. Unable to accept an academic scholarship to the University of Wisconsin at Madison due to the challenging economic times, she attended and graduated from the Outagamie County Rural Normal School in Kaukauna, WI in 1941 with teacher accreditation.
She was a proud member and prototypical example of "The Greatest Generation" - she and her sister supported themselves and the war effort with a variety of jobs in Wisconsin and Colorado during WW II, before starting her teaching career in a one room schoolhouse teaching Grades 1 - 8.
On August 12, 1946 she married the love of her life, John F. Heaney, at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Fond du Lac. They were blessed with six children. Together they committed to make the necessary personal sacrifices to provide a sound Catholic education to each child.
Lill dedicated herself to raising their children, placing her career on hold, but never losing her passion for learning and education. Recognizing the value of continuing her own higher education, she enrolled as a part-time evening student at Marian College in 1957. Soon thereafter she returned to the classroom at Sacred Heart School. Balancing a large family's responsibilities, teaching, and continuing her academic pursuits, she proudly earned her B. S. Degree in Education in 1965 at age 44. She was not done - continuing her professional growth as an evening student, she earned her M. S. in Education as a Reading Specialist from the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh, in 1971 at age 50.
She spent many years working in the Fond du Lac School System as an elementary school teacher where she enjoyed the satisfaction of educating, shaping, and inspiring countless young lives. With a combination of a sharp mind, quick wit, equitable discipline, and a sincere concern for her students, she challenged countless young people to achieve their fullest potential and to reach for the stars. In 1989 she retired from the classroom, but continued to periodically substitute teach into her early 80's. She had the distinction of having taught in six decades - the 1940's through the 1990's.
While clearly proud of her professional career and achievements, Lill was most proud of her children and grandchildren. She and John devoted their lives to assuring that each child was provided with opportunities that neither of them had as young people. While John was sadly taken from her at age 56 in 1978, Lill was blessed with a long and robust life where she was able to see the fruits of their labor in the achievements of her children and grandchildren.
Lill was a long-time parishioner of St. Patrick's Parish and Holy Family Parish. A cornerstone of her life was her Catholic Faith. A lady of great faith, she constantly gave thanks for her blessings and sought the intercession of The Lord with novenas, vigils, and the daily rosary for others. She encouraged her family to pray.
Survivors include, six children, John Patrick (Barbara) Heaney of Dallas, TX, Dennis (Debra) Heaney of Fond du Lac, Mary (Patrick) McCullough of Fond du Lac, Kevin (Brenda) Heaney of Sussex, Sheila Semenas of Oshkosh, Sean (Lori) Heaney of Windermere, FL; 21 grandchildren, Sean (Shelli) Heaney, and Megan Heaney; Kathleen Heaney, Colleen (John) Steinbruecker, Patrick (Tracy) Heaney, Maureen Heaney, and Michael (Melissa) Heaney; Dr.Brita (Joe Shanahan) McCullough, Caitlin (Joe) Rosemeyer, Peter (Marianne) McCullough and Colleen (fiancée Adam Diny) McCullough; Bryan (Erin) Heaney, Sarah (Kevin) Schulz, and Kathryn (fiancée Jason Cisewski) Heaney; Nicholas, Sarah, and Elizabeth Semenas; Michael, Kelly, Allison, and Kevin Heaney; and 18 great-grandchildren. She is further survived by numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives, and many friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, John on August 30, 1978, a grandson, Phillip Heaney, and two sisters, Marian Smith and Betty Garvey.
Visitation: Visitation will be held on Monday March 3, 2014, from 4:00 to 7:00 PM at the Zacherl Funeral Home, Fond du Lac. Visitation will also be held on Tuesday at Holy Family Parish Church, 271 Fourth Street Way, Fond du Lac, from 9:30 to 10:45 AM.
Services: A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, March 4, 2014, 11:00 AM at Holy Family Parish Church. Burial will follow in the Calvary Cemetery.
Memorials in her name may be directed to St. Mary's Springs Second Century Campaign, 114 Amory Street, Fond du Lac, WI 54935, or Holy Family Parish, 271 Fourth Street Way, Fond du Lac.
Zacherl Funeral Home is serving the family. www.zacherlfuneralhome.com
Zacherl Funeral Home
875 E Division St
Fond du Lac, WI 54935
Published in Fond du Lac Reporter from Feb. 28 to Mar. 4, 2014