Cynthia Ann (Pretasky) Heffner
Cynthia Ann (Pretasky) Heffner was born on August 17th, 1955 to James Pretasky and Teresa (Theisen) Pretasky. We often talked of the pain she had from losing first her mother and then her father. She was very close to her parents and felt a deep hurt and loss. My mother had the opportunity to model to her children how one should treat their family and themselves when you lose a parent. She often said, “We all grieve differently and we each need to remember that”. We will mom. We will remember and respect each other.
Cindy loved all of her siblings. She was the middle child of eleven children, Teresa Pretasky, Holmen, Daniel (Teresa) Pretasky, Tomahawk, Timothy (Becky) Pretasky, Floodwood MN, William (Diane) Pretasky, La Crosse, Steven (Angie) Pretasky, Cottage Grove MN, Nancy Miller, Lake Tomahawk, Sandra Tripp, La Crosse, Theodore (Anne) Pretasky, Colfax. She was preceded in death by her brothers, James and Joseph Pretasky; her nephew John Pretasky; and her loving parents, Jim and Teresa Pretasky.
She was a favorite aunt and cousin to many and cherished those relationships. She recently told me of a call she had with her brother Ted and how uplifting the call was “like a breath of spring air.” She said they talked of pain and challenges and Gods love and faith and how siblings have a special connection that is even more important after you lose your parents.
Cindy was a member of the Holmen High School Class of 1973, she received her Certified Nursing Certificate and became a respite and foster parent provider in 1985. The Governor of Wisconsin awarded her and her husband a Foster Parent of the year award TWO times. She was so deserving of that.
Cindy always wanted to be a mother, she had such a love and a gift for children. She became a mom with her then husband David Robert Smith in 1973 (Kimberly Smith Gorka) and again in 1979 (Jeffrey David Smith). She lost a son due to premature birth, Christopher. I am imagining her holding him in heaven singing bye a bye a baby to him as I write this.
Cindy married the love of her life, our hero, step father, foster father, adoptive father…Dad, Daniel John Heffner, on August 29th, 1987.
Their home was filled with the joy and love of God and many children, including over 100 foster children. Dan’s daughter Holli Heffner McKeegan, Kim, Jeff and the children that grew in their hearts and that they chose and raised together Carol, Micheal, Nathaniel, Brianna, Alexus and Raia Heffner. Raia was mom’s special helper and her good girl! Mom was so proud of you and loved you so much.
We all know her true pride and greatest achievement is her grandchildren, Alexander, Gabriel and Christian Gorka, Daniel Freeman, Isabelle, Elaina and Isla Smith, Masyn and Makade Heffner, Arthur and Emilia Beck, and Hazel Thewis.
She took such joy in being outdoors with the little ones’ gardening, planting, picking berries and ending the night with a campfire. She got her gift of storytelling from her dad, we all will miss her stories! The grandchildren all loved their “Grandma Kitten” so much and will miss her always.
In 1989 Cindy was in a car accident and has experienced chronic illness, pain, surgeries, bone replacements and just plain bad luck. At one point Doctors traveled from Australia to try and understand and learn from her medical nightmare.
Through all of it she read her bible and prayed. She loved Jesus and she praised and rejoiced in him.
She battled and she tried. She fell and had a hip replacement three weeks ago and was home recovering very well from that. Recently her heart started having issues and during her nap on her last day with us it just stopped.
Her children cannot express the love of Dan and Cindy. They raised the bar high for us. Their love has affected so many. My mother’s love has affected so many. My mom was 63 and way too young to die.
So young that when she called the last two times I did not answer. I didn’t think her death was an option. All of us kids want you to know… it is not the “adult” mom you have today you cry for. It is the mom who taught you everything and tucked you in. The mom you wanted when you were hurt. It’s my mommy I want. Stay connected with yours. Take the five minutes and let her check in. You’re still her baby and she will always be your mommy. She might not call tomorrow. We all have so much we want to say to her now that we are the cliché.
Make the time to answer your phone and to call your mom.
We all love you so much mom, a bushel and a peck!
A service will be held on Friday, May 3, 2019 at 2 PM at Christ is Lord Free Lutheran Church, 1269 CTH PH, Onalaska with visitation being held from 12 PM to the time of the service.