Ira Dawson Hefner, Jr. was 88 when he went home to be with the Lord on April 18, 2019. He was married to the love of his life, Barbara for 65 years. He was Daddy and Granddaddy to a loving family across 3 generations, and he was our rock of stability, integrity and love throughout his life. He had a servant’s heart which he expressed through his love of his family and his support of his church.
He was born February 4, 1931 in Statesville, NC to the late Ira Dawson & Margaret D. Hefner. While he was a freshman at NC State University he met his best friend and the love of his life, Barbara Jeannette Bruner. After graduating with his degree in Civil Engineering, Ira and Barbara were married November 7, 1953. He entered the U.S. Army and was stationed at Ft. Belvoir in VA and then Ft. Wolters in Mineral Wells, TX where they welcomed their first child Amy to the family. After completing a landing strip project at Saglek Bay Air Station in eastern Canada for the USAF Northeast Air Command, he left the Army and moved to Savannah, GA to work for Central of Georgia Railroad. He worked on re-routing their tracks near the Ford plant in Hapeville, GA and spent many a day on the old Nancy Hanks train between Savannah and Atlanta. Over the following years Ira and Barbara welcomed sons Mark and Brad to the family. In 1965 Ira joined the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers where he worked on military and related projects until retiring in 1994 as Chief of Military Planning. His faith in Christ led him to serve in various roles and offices at Robert McIntyre UMC and White Bluff UMC, and he led the engineering project for the addition to White Bluff UMC in the 1970’s.
In retirement he had more time to pursue his lifelong interests in camping, fishing, carpentry, target shooting, gardening, trains, and repairing anything that broke. But what he enjoyed most was spending time with his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. He loved showing them love, teaching them about life, making them laugh, and sharing special experiences like going to the secret “bear cave” for candy treats, and building something unique with them.
Preceding him in death, in addition to his parents, were his infant son Ira Dawson Hefner, III, brother Robert Hefner, sister Louise H. Myers, and infant great-granddaughter Amelia Leigh Hill.
He is survived by his wife Barbara; daughter Amy Hefner-Samson; sons Mark (Carolyn) Hefner and L. Brad (Sharlene) Hefner; plus seven grandchildren: Amanda (Matthew) Hill, Cory (Ellen) Hefner, Scott (Sarah) Hefner, Ryan Hefner, Savanna Hefner, Anna (Edgar) De Arcos, and Wyatt Sheldon; plus four great-grandchildren: Jackson M. Hill, Lily Dawson Hill, Dawson Ezekiel Hefner and Elicia De Arcos; and sister Cynthia H. Shook.
Visitation will be held at Gamble Funeral Service in Savannah, Georgia on Tuesday April 23, 2019 from 5 -7 P.M.
A funeral service honoring Ira’s life will be held at White Bluff United Methodist Church on Wednesday April 24, 2019 at 12 noon. Interment, with military honors, will follow in Hillcrest Abbey – West, Dean Forest Road.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to White Bluff United Methodist Church – 11911 White Bluff Road, Savannah, Georgia 31419.