Tombstone Tuesday–Oscar F. Heffner

Oscar F. Heffner, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

Oscar F. Heffner, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Oscar F. Heffner, located in row 9 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Oscar F.

Oscar Heffner was born in Chattanooga, Ohio, on 27 June 1896 to Fredrick and Anna (Merkle) Heffner. He was baptized as Friedrich Oskar Heffner at Zion Chatt by Rev. P.J. Vollmar on 12 July 1896. His parents served as his baptismal sponsors. Oscar was confirmed at Zion Chatt on 9 April 1911 by Rev. George Haas.

Oscar registered for the WWI draft in Celina, Ohio, on 5 June 1918. He was living at RR 5 Rockford at that time and working for E.J. Drake in Mendon, Ohio. He had gray eyes and brown hair. [1] Oscar enlisted 5 September 1918 and served as a private in Co K 29 Engineers until his honorable discharge on 27 December 1918. [2]

Shortly after the war Oscar lived in a boarding house in Mendon and worked as a mechanic in a garage. [3] At some point during his life Oscar acquired the nickname Brownie.

Oscar Heffner married Lillian Kinkley at Zion Chatt on 29 October 1921 by Rev. Carl. H. Albrecht, who also served at their witness. Zion’s records indicate that Oscar was 25 years old and Lillian was 20 years old. She was born on 17 December 1901 in Mendon, Ohio, the daughter of Robert and Edith (Hall) Kinkley. At the time of their marriage Oscar was a mechanic and Lillian was a telephone operator. [4]

In 1930 Oscar lived on Main Street, Mendon, where he was the proprietor of a garage. Oscar indicated he was the head of the household and his brother Vernon lived with him. Oscar was 33 years of age and married while Vernon was 24 and single. Vernon was employed as a mechanic in the garage. Only Oscar and Vernon were enumerated in the household. Lillian was living with her parents, Robert and Edith Kinkley, on Wayne Street in Mendon. [5]

Oscar and Lillian divorced in 1937 [6] and Oscar still resided with his brother Vernon in 1940. Vernon, now the head of the household, was married to Carmella. The two Heffner brothers worked as mechanics in their garage. [7]

Oscar registered for the WWII draft, the “the old man’s registration,” in 1942. He was 45 years old at the time, self-employed, and living in Mendon. [8]

A few years later Oscar married a second time, marrying Dorothy Evelyn Patton on 9 December 1946 in Jay County, Indiana. The marriage was performed by Rev. Marshall N. Weaver. Dorothy was born 20 August 1918 in Ashville, North Carolina, the daughter of W. H. and Verna (Ball) Patton. She had also been married once before and had divorced in 1940. At the time of their marriage Oscar lived in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he operated a service station. Dorothy lived in Decatur, Indiana, and was not employed. [6]

According to Zion Chatt’s records Oscar had made his home with his brother Vernon in Mendon for 39 years when he died of heart trouble at 9:45 p.m. on the evening of 27 September 1956 in a Celina hospital. Oscar was 60 years old and was buried on the 27th. Oscar’s obituary:

Oscar F. Heffner
—Services will be at 2 p.m. Thursday in the Zion Lutheran Church, Chattanooga, for Oscar F. Heffner, 60, of here, who died Monday evening in the Gibbons Hospital, Celina, following a heart condition.

A lifelong resident of Mercer County, Mr. Heffner was a retired owner and operator of a service station and garage business here, in which, his brother, Vernon, was a partner. He was a veteran of World War I.

He is survived, in addition to his brother, Vernon, with whom he had made his home, by another brother, Rudolph, Chattanooga, and a sister, Mrs. Marguerite Roebuck, Fort Wayne.

The body will remain in the Vernon Heffner residence where friends may call until time of services. Burial will be in the church cemetery. [9]

No children were mentioned in any of the records.

Oscar and his second wife Dorothy must have divorced sometime before 1960 and it appears she took her maiden name back. Dorothy E. Patton married Lee F. Daniels on 9 March 1960 in San Luis Obispo, California. [10] Dorothy Evelyn Daniels died on 21 August 1996 in San Luis Obispo. [11]


[1] U.S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 digital images, ( : accessed 11 January 2015), card for Oscar F. Heffner, no.180, Mercer County, Ohio, citing World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, NARA microfilm publication M1509; imaged from FHL film roll 183519.

[2] Official Roster of Ohio Soldiers, Sailors and Marines in the World War, 1917-18 (Columbus, Ohio : The FJ Heer Printing Co., 1926), 7272; ( : accessed 11 January 2015).

[3] 1920 U.S. Census, Mendon, Mercer County, Ohio, ED 144, p.6B, dwelling 159, family 160, Gus Stelzer; digital image by subscription, ( : accessed 11 January 2015); from NARA microfilm T625, roll 1418.

[4] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1997,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 11 January 2015), Oscar F Heffner and Lillian Kinkley, 29 October 1921; citing Mercer County, Ohio, Marriages, Vol. 12, p.95; from FHL microfilm 2366955.

[5] 1930 U.S. Census, Mendon, Mercer County, Ohio, ED 25, p.1B, dwelling 24, family 24, Oscar F Heffner; and p.3A, dwelling 71, family 71, Robert S. Kinkley; digital image by subscription, ( : accessed 11 January 2015); from NARA microfilm T626, roll 1850.

[6] “Indiana, Marriages, 1811-1959,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 11 January 2015), Oscar Frederick Heffner and Dorothy Evelyn Patton, 9 December 1946; citing Jay, Indiana, County Clerk Offices, Vol. 17 p.460; from FHL microfilm 2169119.

[7] 1940 U.S. Census, Mendon, Mercer county, Ohio, ED 54-28, p.4B, household 91, Vernon Heffner; digital image by subscription, ( : accessed 11 January 2015); from NARA microfilm T627, roll 3114.

[8] U.S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942, (Fourth Registration), Records of the Selective Service System, Record Group No. 147, NARA; digital images, ( : accessed 11 January 2014).

[9] The Lima News, Lima, Ohio, 26 September 1956, p.14; ( : accessed 10 January 2015).

[10] “California, Marriage Index, 1960-1985,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 13 January 2015), Lee F. Daniels and Dorothy E. Patton, 9 March 1960; from “California, Marriage Index, 1960-1985,” Ancestry, citing San Luis Obispo, California, Center of Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento.

[11] California Death Index, 1940-1997, State of California DOH, Center for Health Statistics, Sacramento, CA; ( : accessed 13 January 2015). Note: Dorothy E. Daniels, Social Security no. 237-26-7781, father’s surname Patton, mother’s maiden name Ball, born 20 August 1918 in North Carolina, died 21 August 1996 in San Luis Obispo, California.




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    • Mary Anne on January 13, 2015 at 9:19 am
    • Reply

    Just a little unclear—did he and his second wife not live together or was she deceased at the time of his death?
    Also, do you know if he was any relation to our neighbor, Jim Heffner? Spelling is the same.

    1. I honestly do not know. There was no mention of her in Oscar’s obituary and I do not know what happened to her. Maybe they divorced? Perhaps a Heffner family researcher knows. Oscar was probably related to Jim. Hopefully I will discover that information as I continue the Tombstone Tuesdays with the Heffners buried at Zion Chatt. There are quite a number of Heffners buried in our cemetery. Thanks for reading!

    2. I did find what happened to Oscar’s second wife Dorothy Patton. She died 21 August 1996 and is buried in San Luis Obispo, California. Her surname was Daniels when she died. I put an update on the blog post.

    • Mary Goodwin Haddad on January 13, 2015 at 12:15 pm
    • Reply

    Thanks, Karen, for your research. A couple things of interest concerning Oscar: looks like he was almost 15 years old before he was confirmed. Isn’t that a little late? Also noticed he enlisted to serve in WWI June, 1918 and was discharged December, 1918. That’s only 3 1/2 months and the war was really over by then. So wonder why he enlisted so late and didn’t stay long? Just wondering.

    1. Fourteen years is the common confirmation age for Lutherans, but that did seem to vary a little. Back in those days Zion often did not confirm every year, but every other year. For that reason the age could vary a little. Sometimes, for the convenience of the family, siblings took catechism together and were confirmed together. In a recent post I noted that two of Oscar’s brothers, Albert and Rudolph, were confirmed together. As for the enlistment question, he would not have known when the war would end. He likely thought it would drag on much longer. Thanks for reading!

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