Dora K. 'Kay' Hefner

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Dora “Kay” Kathleen Hefner, 88, of McGregor, died Tuesday, May 2, 2023, at Mayo Clinic Health System, La Crosse, Wis., after a sudden illness. She was born May 23, 1934, to Neil and Catherine (Melvin) McCormick at home in rural Harpers Ferry. Kay graduated from Waukon High School in 1952. 


On Oct. 17, 1953, Kay was united in marriage with Virgil Hefner at St. Pius Catholic Church (Cherry Mound), rural Harpers Ferry. Five children were born to this union. Kay worked alongside Virgil on their family farm. She did everything from planting, harvesting, baling and milking—you name it, she helped. She was also a waitress at White Springs for 26 years and worked other various jobs. Kay was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church all her married life, where she worked many bingo nights and fall dinners, was founder of a card club for over 66 years, which she looked forward to every time, and was a 4-H leader for the Peppy Pals for many years. Later in life, she worked at Kwik Star, making the donuts for the customers at 2:30 a.m. She enjoyed playing cards, spending time with family and friends and watching football and basketball. She was a fan of the Iowa Hawkeyes, Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs baseball. She was a chair contestant every night on Wheel of Fortune, which she was pretty darn good at. She lived a long, beautiful life and will be greatly missed. 


Surviving Kay are her five children—four good ones and one questionable one—Julie (Bruce) Schultz of McGregor, Michael Hefner of German Valley, Ill., Bill (Julie Rohovit) Hefner of Minneapolis, Minn., Ron (Vicky) Hefner of McGregor and Jolene (Terry) Christeleit of Volga; nine grandchildren, Shawn (Tara) Schultz, Jeremy (Tracy Schultz) Schultz, Cassidy (Ryan) Melton, Caitlyn (Joshua) DeWall, Chad (Sami) Hefner, Rylan Hefner, Courtney Hefner, Ty (Taylor Berns) Hefner and William (Kennedy Bahls) Christeleit; six great-grandchildren, Noah (Crystal) Schultz, Turner Melton, Teegan Melton, Laykin DeWall, Chandler Hefner and Demi Hefner; one great-great-granddaughter, Ely Schultz; three sisters, Linda (Gerald) Henkes of McGregor, Betty Olsen of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Jean Swanson of Des Moines; and several nieces and nephews.


Kay was preceded in death by her husband, Virgil Hefner; daughter-in-law, Lori Hefner; her parents, Neil and Catherine McCormick; brother, Dale McCormick; sister-in-law, Delpha McCormick; two brothers-in-law, Marty Olsen and Delos Swanson; and her beloved and dearest friend, Dot McCormick.


Visitation was May 7, at St. Mary Catholic Church, McGregor. Memorial Mass was May 8, also at St. Mary Catholic Church, with Rev. Martin Coolidge as the celebrant. Inurnment followed at St. Pius Cherry Mound Cemetery, Harpers Ferry.


In lieu of flowers, memorials in Kay’s honor may be made to St. Mary Catholic Church, McGregor; McGregor Hook and Ladder; or Mar-Mac Rescue Squad.


Thornburg-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service, McGregor, is helping the family with the arrangements.

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