In Memory of




Obituary for Richard J. Heffernan

Of Lexington and Acton, Richard Heffernan, Administrative Judge of the Department of Industrial Accidents for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (retired) passed peacefully on December 31, 2022. 


Beloved husband of 42 years of the late Monica McBride Heffernan. Loving father of Maureen of Watertown, Kevin of Acton & the late Richard. Predeceased by his brother John (Jackie) and survived by his brother Paul of Milton and many treasured nieces and nephews. Served in the U.S. Army from 1956-1958, including the 7th Division in Korea.


After serving his country, Richard returned home to work for New England Telephone (now Verizon) from 1958 through 1986. During that time he became active in the labor union (I.B.E.W. Local 2222) holding positions including Building Steward, Chief Steward, Business Agent and Local Union President. His responsibilities included contract negotiation on both a local and national level with the Bell System/AT&T. From 1978-1986 he held the positions of Massachusetts District Vice President and Executive Vice President for the Industrial Union Department for the Massachusetts AFL-CIO. From 1978-1983 he was an Executive board of the Labor Guild and from 1983-1984, President of The Labor Guild Boston.


While he was fulfilling these responsibilities, he also earned his Associate in Arts in Liberal Studies from Middlesex Community College in 1980 and his Bachelor of Arts in Labor Studies from Antioch University and the George Meany Center for Labor Studies in 1984.

In 1986 he retired from Verizon to begin a second career as an Administrative Judge of the Department of Industrial Accidents for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts where he used his extensive experience in grievance processing, arbitration, contract negotiations and labor relations deciding workers compensation cases. As he noted in an interview in 2010, “he carries into every proceeding he presides over the same philosophical approach – at the end of the day, when one leaves his courtroom, although one party may be disappointed by the outcome, they were given deference to their concerns and they received a ‘fair shake’ from him.” He retired (for a second time) in November of 2020 after 34 years at the DIA.

Richard was beloved by his family and friends for his loyalty, kindness, wit and ever present sense of humor in any situation. He took great comfort in his faith as he did from the tremendous friendship, love and support he received from family and friends. He will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him. 

Visiting hours Sunday from 1-4 PM at the Acton Funeral Home, 470 Mass Ave., (Rte 111) ACTON. Funeral Mass Monday 10:00 AM in St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church, 89 Arlington St., Acton, with burial in Mt. Hope Cemetery, W. Acton.

In lieu of flowers, those who wish may make memorial contributions to the American Cancer Society 30 Speen Street, Framingham, MA 01701 or the Massachusetts Audobon Society 208 S Great Rd, Lincoln, MA 01773.