It is with deep sadness and much love that we mourn the passing of John Arthur Hefti, 58, of Virginia Beach, who passed away the evening of Monday, October 4, 2021 in a car accident. His death is a devastating loss to his wife, Patricia (Creamer) Hefti, and sons Jay (25), Adam (23), and Shane (9).
John loved life. He was all about family and enjoyed spending time with his wife and sons whether it was boating, throwing the football and baseball, going to the beach, or just watching sunsets. Family was always the most important thing about or in his life. He was also a great impersonator and was known for his quick wit. He loved and adored his wife “Trishypie” and never forgot where they first met or the day he proposed and asked for her hand in marriage. His family and friends remember John as the guy who enjoyed grilling for others and who loved having backyard bonfires while socializing about current events and in some cases breaking out the karaoke machine to dance and sing. He was the most humble man and never boasted about his many accomplishments.
John was born September 1, 1963 at Marine Corps Base Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, the first son of career Marine officer Marlin “Buzz” and Carol Hefti. Beloved brother of Julia and Jim, he spent his formative years in various locations throughout the country, finally settling for a longer period in Woodbridge, Virginia, where he attended Woodbridge Middle School and graduated from Woodbridge Senior High School in 1981. A gifted athlete, John excelled in all sports during his childhood, and was a three-sport athlete in high school, playing quarterback on the football teams, pitcher and shortstop on the baseball teams, and point guard on the basketball team. He was named All-Conference Quarterback his senior season and was a member of the Varsity club. He was also a member of the National Honor Society and played trumpet in the school band. He was a natural leader on and off the playing field and used his positions and accomplishments throughout his life to care for, train and advocate for others. John was heavily recruited by such college football teams as the United States Military Academy West Point and Virginia Military Institute but chose the United States Naval Academy (USNA) for his college and career. He played quarterback on the JV team his freshman year. He graduated from USNA in May of 1985 with an Engineering degree, and was selected to become a Naval Aviator, beginning training at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida.
John Hefti, call sign “Bag” was designated a Naval Aviator in March 1987 in Beeville, TX and became a selectively retained graduate flight instructor until 1989. He completed F-14 Replacement Air Group training with Fighter Squadron ONE ZERO ONE (VF-101), the Grim Reapers, at NAS Oceana, Virginia. Bag’s operational sea assignments include Fighter Squadron FOUR ONE (VF-41), the Black Aces, where he graduated from TOPGUN, served as air wing landing signal officer (LSO), and deployed in support of Operation Desert Storm. In Fighter Squadron ONE ZERO THREE (VF-103), the Jolly Rogers, he was a maintenance officer and deployed in support of Operations Deliberate Forge and Southern Watch. John’s first command tour was as the commanding officer, Fighter Squadron TWO ONE THREE (VF-213), the Blacklions, where he deployed in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom immediately following the attacks of September 11th, 2001. His next command was Commander, Tactical Support Wing, the Navy’s reserve air wing based in Ft. Worth, TX. There he commanded six squadrons, six squadron augment units (SAU), and three fleet maintenance centers with a wide range of missions, from flying adversary support to counter-illicit trafficking and electronic attack. Bag’s shore assignments included two tours in VF-101 as a flight instructor, training officer and operations officer. He was also the readiness officer for Fighter Wing Atlantic and Aide to the Commander, U.S. Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). He also served as the Navy’s first diversity officer for the Chief of Naval Personnel and Deputy Chief of Staff, Fleet/Joint Training at U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFF). He held a masters degree in National Security Strategy from the National War College.
Retiring from active duty in 2013, John worked as a client manager and performance improvement coach for the oil and gas industry for three years. In this capacity, he was an executive and workforce level coach on leadership, organizational change, communication, safety/risk management and process improvement for Exxon, Chevron, Shell, Conoco, and BP. John returned to government service in 2016 as the Aviation Program Manager in the Resources and Readiness Division for USFF. Prior to his death he continued to serve at USFF as the Executive Director of Training.
Outside of work, John loved coaching children in baseball and basketball. He coached baseball for six years for the Great Neck Baseball League and three years for the Upward Basketball League. He loved working with children and the children absolutely loved being coached by “Coach John”. He was recognized as being exceedingly patient and one who never wanted to be in the dugout or on the bench. Coach Hefti instead insisted on always being on the field or court to provide instruction, development of skills and to build on players’ confidence. He was known throughout the coaching community as a fun and inspirational leader and coach.
John is survived by his adoring wife Patricia (Creamer) Hefti, his cherished sons John “Jay” Jr, Adam and Shane, Jay’s wife Taylor (Cimbalist) and Adam’s fiancée Lauren Townsend, parents Marlin “Buzz” and Carol (Bartik) Hefti, sister Julia (Hefti) and Charles Chu, nephews Nathaniel and Christian Chu, James and Lisa (Cugliari) Hefti, nieces Caroline, Jameson and Alexandra Hefti, Father and Mother-in-Law Chris and Mary (Forrest) Creamer, sister and brother-in-law Kathleen and Trey Faulkner and John’s favorite furry friends Stella, Duncan and Brodie, brothers-in-law Kevin and Kevin Creamer-Moeller and nephew Dustin Creamer-Moeller, sisters-in-law Molly and Erin Creamer-Rewalt, nephews Briggs and Jace and niece Zoey Creamer-Rewalt, along with untold numbers of extended family, friends, Sailors and Naval Aviators whose lives he profoundly impacted.
John will receive full military honors on Friday, November 5 followed by a 10am memorial mass on Saturday, November 6 at the Star of the Sea Catholic Church. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made at: TowneBank, “Captain John “Bag” Hefti Memorial Scholarship Fund for Athletes”, 984 First Colonial Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23454 or through GoFundMe: https://gofund.me/4d5fcf79
Condolence cards and letters can be sent to:
The Hefti Family
1340 N. Great Neck Road Suite 1272
Virginia Beach, VA 23454