112 Bayview Blvd.
Oldsmar, Florida 34677
(Serving All of Florida)
Darrell took flight at about 4:30 AM this morning, 8/9/18, with his eyes slightly open, a smile on his face, and listening to classical music. It was a gentle and good passage. I saw that smile before he was taken to the Medical Examiner for his final generous act of donating his brain for research on Parkinson’s disease and Dementia with Lewy-Bodies.
Those of us left behind will miss him dearly: his wife, Susan; his sons, Eric Hefte of Abita Springs, Louisiana; Aaron Hefte and his wife, Brooke, of St. Petersburg, Florida; Susan’s son, Tom Stephenson and his wife, Donna; and seven grandchildren ages 11 to 27: Meagan, Maria, Chase, Cole, Isabella, Kendall, Charlotte. He also leaves his two sisters, Marilyn Asay of Cary, NC, and Jan Hunt of Fayetteville, Georgia, their four children.
Darrell lived in Pinellas County since the late 60s when he was serving on the US Coast Guard Buoy Tender, Steadfast, as a navigator. He was a very involved member of local Unitarian Universalist congregations for twenty plus years. He became a convinced Quaker during his residence with Susan at Pendle Hill, a Quaker Study and Contemplation Center, academic years 1998 - 2000, and as Friend in Residence, Winter Term, 2003. He became an active member of the St. Petersburg Religious Society of Friends in 2000.
Dr. Hefte was a Visionary, a lifelong student and a Socratic teacher, teaching others to think for themselves. He believed in experiential learning, “Active Video,” having fun in the classroom, listening to and seeing his students. These traits were present whether teaching kindergarten or post graduate students, working in prisons or the Boys and Girls Clubs, with young women at LEAP, at Seminole Middle School, Boca Ciega or Largo High Schools.
A foundational approach that caught his heart and mind was the Alternatives to Violence Project and its youth program, Help Increase the Peace. He brought AVP and HIPP to the Tampa Bay area in 2000 and worked as a consultant to the Pinellas County School System for a number of years. He worked with AVP principles wherever he was from the late 90’s to his passing — even “teaching regular classes” at Opis Tierra Pines Center to fellow residents and staff.
He was an unfailing advocate for those without a voice: the incarcerated, the homeless, the working poor, middle school and high school students who were disenchanted with traditional methods of teaching, conscious objectors during the Vietnam War, a voice against the death penalty, and other challenging issues that created a sense of powerlessness.
As two year Editor, publisher, and author for the American Friends Service Committee paper, “ComeUnity,” he addressed current events often not covered by the St. Pete Times or Evening Independent in the early 70s. He also helped organize consciousness raising events, such as a lively enactment of the U.N. through the St. Petersburg U.U. Church; and, for many years, Circus McGurgis through the St. Petersburg Religious Society of Friends (Quaker).
Darrell’s commitment to family was evident when he would take his sons to his parents’ farm in Missouri for ten years to plant and harvest corn and strawberries. The Hefte Farm was a popular destination site for the “best sweet corn in SW Missouri," sold off the back of their truck. Strong values were learned across the generations through hard work, card playing, and telling stories at the end of the day. He always wanted to know about the kids and their kids, and his very large extended family of friends. He had school chums from kindergarten all the way through college that continued to be a part of his life to the end. His interest in people was unwavering. His desire to help and support others was clear.
If you were fortunate enough to be a part of Darrell’s life and service, you have been blessed by a deeply caring, compassionate and generous man. May you always remember him well. A Memorial Service will be at the St. Petersburg Friends Meeting House, 1:00 PM on Sunday, August 19th, 2018, located at - 130 19th Avenue SE. We would like to hear stories about Darrell and about your personal connection with him.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to any of Darrell’s favorite service organizations:
Donate, marked “Family Picnic” through The UU Church or
St. Petersburg Religious Society of Friends,
130 - 19th Ave SE, St. Petersburg, FL 33705
Donate by phone, 1-888-588-2372 or on their website: www.afsc.org
Donate by phone 1-800-630-1330 X 2530 or check their website: www.fcnl.org