Obituary

Emma Heffernan loved her animals, music, travelling, friends and family, sometimes in that order. She attended hundreds of concerts and travelled to over 60 countries. Emma’s cat Bean and dog Rory were not able to count the number of belly rubs, but we know it was in the high thousands. She was passionate about leather working, hiking, craft beer, camping, soccer, hockey, reading, and home improvement. In her spare time, she completed two Masters degrees and enjoyed a successful career in energy policy.

Emma died suddenly on January 4, 2023 at the age of 33. She was born to Tracy Heffernan and Mark Neufeld on November 26, 1989 and was joined by her younger brother Yasch Neufeld in 1992. In addition to her immediate family, Emma is survived by many adoring aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, colleagues, teammates, and her partner. We all miss her greatly: her generosity, talent, determination, sharp wit, quirky sense of humour, and even her bossiness. We are devastated she is not here with us.

Her life was extremely full. She still had so much more to do. It is impossible to capture her spirited soul in words. Perhaps the beaming smile everyone appreciated so much says it all.

There will be a visitation at the Cardinal Funeral Home, 92 Annette Street, on Tuesday, January 10th from 3-5 PM. There will be a spring memorial with dates to be confirmed. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to one of Emma's favourite charities, Eva’s shelter, or a charity of your choice.

Visitation

Date
January 10, 2023
Location
Cardinal Funeral Home - Annette Chapel
Time
03:00 PM - 05:00 PM

Service

Cremation

*

February 12, 2023
Lorenzo Daieff
I knew Emma from her time at McGill, where we had many classes together and hang out with the wider friendgroup. We mostly lost touch since, but I very much recall her wit, humour, intelligence, energy. This has been such a shock. My sincere condolences to the family and her community.
January 25, 2023
Rick Stuart-Sheppard
Tracy, I'm so sad to hear the news of your loss. Thinking of you and Ginny at this time with much love.
January 23, 2023
Leandra
Hi Tracy, I’m very sorry for your family’s loss. My deepest condolences May you find strength in all your memories with her. My thoughts are with you at this time
January 23, 2023
Martin Zarnett
Tracy, I just heard of the tragic and terrible loss of your daughter Emma. My profound and deepest sympathies to you and your family. From reading the tributes posted in your daughter’s memory, it is clear that she was an accomplished and beautiful person. I hope that all of the good memories that you have of your daughter will comfort you and your family during these terribly difficult days and always.
January 21, 2023
Jeff Schlemmer, Community Legal Clinic of York Region
Tracy, So sorry to hear about the devastating loss of Emma. On behalf of myself and the staff of Community Legal Clinic of York Region we extend our deepest condolences. Jeff
January 20, 2023
Bill Kukulewich
Dear Tracy I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your daughter I can't find the words to express my sympathies Please except my deepest condolences for your loss Much Love Bill
January 20, 2023
Peter Loewen, Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy
Please accept our deepest condolences to Emma’s friends and family from the Munk School. She is remembered by faculty, staff and fellow students as a bright, creative, and passionate student who cared deeply about energy and environmental policy. She was a terrific ambassador of our MPP program during her exchange term to Hertie, in Berlin. She is deeply missed.
January 18, 2023
Anya Marcelis
Emma was so full of light and love. She still had so many adventures to live and experience and the greatest contributions to give to this world. She leaves a giant Emma-shaped hole, so very hard to fill. I will always hold in my heart her great smile, good humour and the joy and passion that always twinkled in her eyes. Sending all my love and deepest condolences to Tracy, Yasch, Mark and all of Emma's family and friends who are feeling this loss so deeply.
January 16, 2023
Henry Wong
I will forever miss Emma. When my team was suddenly re-orged into the Ministry of Energy in 2018, Emma was one of the first people to approach me and make friends. That year's Christmas break, when Emma was "acting director and manager of Emma", was one of the most fun times i had working during a holiday season. Through the months and years, I came to know Emma as my snack buddy, the parent of Rory and Chicken, the hockey champ, and the cycling fanatic. I will cherish the music she shared with me and keep her in my memories, always. I send my deepest of condolences.
January 15, 2023
Alina Gildiner
Like everyone here, I wish I could take your broken heart in my hands and soothe it, Tracy. I know your boundless, eternal love for Emma. May it help you in this most dreadful of times. Love -- Alina
January 13, 2023
Melissa and Zelda Mindell
I am devastated to learn this terrible news about Emma. I spent many hours with Emma at Dufferin Grove with our dogs and we shared many intimate conversations. She was so empathetic and kind. Such a bright light! She will be greatly missed. I'm sad the world has lost this good human.
January 13, 2023
Stella and Karen
To our dear friend and colleague Teresa, and to Yasch, Tracy and Mark: what a loss for each of you, for you all, and for the world. She had so much to give and so much left to do. Our hearts ache for you.
January 12, 2023
Elizabeth Nguyen
Dear Heffernan family, I am very sorry for your loss. I have known Emma for about 14 years and she was a very special and dear friend. She was smart, kind, and had a fiery personality. She helped me grow as a person and I am very thankful to have known Emma. I’m very sad that Emma is no longer able to share her warm smile, but she will always be remembered by those she has impacted. Emma was loved by many and will be greatly missed.
January 12, 2023
Margaret Knight
Dear Mark and family, It was with shock and sadness that I learned of Emma's passing. Losing Emma is such heart wrenching news for all who knew and loved her. Sending my deepest condolences. Rory's breeder.
January 11, 2023
Eamon O'Riordan
My sincere condolences to Emma's family and close friends. I worked with Emma in her team at the Ontario Energy Board. While this means that I've only gotten to know her relatively recently, I can say that I’m grateful to have known such a positive, confident, and thoughtful person. Her wit, intelligence and keen interest in the energy sector were matched by a natural curiosity and enthusiasm for the world in general, reflected in her many interests and wide group of friends and the number of facts she seemed to know on any given topic. My conversations with Emma always involved a lot of laughter and usually with me learning something new. Her loss is devastating to those of us lucky enough to have known her and spent time in her company. I hope you can take some comfort in knowing how much of a positive effect Emma had on all of us. It is not something we will forget.
January 10, 2023
Rosalind
I am so grateful to have crossed paths with Emma and Rory at the office. Although I did not know her well, I found her energy inspiring. After reading the description of her life, as well as messages from those who knew her, I know that she inspired many people (and animals) to enjoy the moments. Thank you, Emma.
January 10, 2023
Ryan Zade
My sincerest condolences to Emma’s family and close friends. I had the privilege of knowing Emma professionally for her time at the Ministry of Energy. I can say with confidence that she was much more often than not the smartest person in the room. Her thirst for knowledge and desire to serve Ontarians were inspiring. She matched these skills with an unparalleled ability to make her colleagues feel valued and included. She challenged me when she disagreed, she had my back when things needed to be done. Emma was a tremendous friend. She cared so deeply for the wellbeing of those she loved. She was the life of a party. She had the best beer recommendations. You always felt in a moment you shared with Emma that, to her, you were the most important person on the planet. As she goes on her final trip, I’d like to thank her family for sharing such a wonderful woman with us. I’ll never forget her.
January 10, 2023
Olga Navarro-Flores
Looking at Emma’s face in the picture reminded me of the 9 or 10-year-old I saw and played with a long time ago. Since then, she blossomed into the beautiful person many have honored with their remembrances and stories. I missed Emma’s 30th and Tracy’s 60th party, unfortunately. But I wouldn’t miss extending my deepest sympathy to you Tracy, my friend, Mark and Yasch. May Emma’s life be a true inspiration for healing your loss and a reason to find your strength and serenity now and always. All my love, always, Olga
January 10, 2023
Graham Young
I worked with Emma for six years at the Ministry of Energy. Having Emma as a colleague made coming to work fun as she saw the humorous side of everything. I will always remember Emma’s ability to speed-read (be it dense electricity-rate applications or a large stack of library books on her desk), her strong grasp of the pop culture/music scenes and the incredible vacations she always seemed to have on the horizon. I recall a strong sense of relief when she messaged to say she’d made it back to Canada (via a Mexican resort) when her trip to Columbia was cut short by COVID in March 2020. Emma’s research and analysis skills were legendary. She used these to excel at work but also help with whatever decisions I was struggling with: selecting a restaurant, buying new camping gear or picking baby names when my wife and I were expecting. Hearing “go ask Emma” was commonplace at the Ministry of Energy, regardless of the question. I will miss Emma dearly. I am so sorry for your loss.
January 10, 2023
Michael Beare
I was fortunate to have worked with Emma at the Ministry of Energy and at the Ontario Energy Board. Emma's positive attitude, political acuity, and industry knowledge made her a valuable colleague and a pleasure to work with. Her many interests guaranteed interesting conversations in the office and at work socials. My condolences to her friends and family. She will be greatly missed.
January 10, 2023
Shruti
My deepest sympathy to Emma's family, friends and all those who knew her. I knew Emma from our shared time at the Ministry of Energy. She was a creative and spirited team player and astute problem solver. I was amazed by her bounty of interests, passion and smarts. She made friendships all around, with ease and grace. Peace and strength to all.
January 10, 2023
Patricia and Robert Alonso
Dear Tracy, we haven't been neighbours for very long but we will miss seeing Emma's big smile, especially when we spoke about our dogs, Rory and Fuji. Our deepest condolences to you and your family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all during this difficult time. May Emma rest in peace.
January 10, 2023
Ivan Emke & Joyce Reesor
I was very saddened and shocked to hear of Emma's death. Even the words of the finest of poets do not quite capture the sense of loss that floods over us with such a passing. We are holding her family and friends, and all who knew her, close in our hearts at this time.
January 10, 2023
Kyra Mayahi-Murdoch
I am so sorry to hear about your loss. Sending my deepest sympathies. I was fortunate enough to meet Emma while playing hockey and even more fortunate to have been on her team for a number of years. She was a brilliant player and a compassionate individual.
January 10, 2023
Fay Faraday
Dear Tracy, Emma shared your beautiful, joyous spirit. I am so profoundly sorry for your loss. I see your grief and offer my deepest love.
January 10, 2023
Cathy Matthews
To love one Heffernan is to love all of the Heffernans. David and I send our love and support to the entire Heffernan family. Emma lived so much of what we deeply admire in all of the Heffs and in particular, kindness, intellectual curiosity, sport and adventure. We hold close in our hearts Tracy, Yasch, Ginny and Graham.
January 10, 2023
Kally, Nate and Percy.
We are so incredibly heartbroken to learn of Emma’s passing, and send our condolences to the family. Emma was such a bright light in our neighbourhood and always had the happiest smile. Our dog, Percy (who’s notorious for barking at everyone), loved when he got to run into Emma and Rory at the park. The same with my brother’s dog, Turkey. In fact, I would find it hard to believe if any dog or animal didn’t love Emma. She was truly the kindest person and her presence will be felt within our neighbourhood. Sending our love and thoughts.
January 10, 2023
Rachel Reesor-Taylor and Andrew Taylor
Our deepest sympathy to Mark and to Tracy, and Emma's close family and friends.
January 10, 2023
Justine Desmond
My deepest condolences to Emma’s close friends and family. I had the pleasure of meeting Emma in the Master of Public Policy program at U of T. I also went on to work closely with her at the Ministry of Energy. Emma was always one of my favourite people to do a project with. She was a whip-smart, critical thinker and an extremely hard worker, but also so kind and compassionate. Learning and working alongside her truly brought depth to my own experiences and she is a voice whose loss will be keenly felt in the energy policy community. I am also a dog lover and loved when she would bring Rory to the office for pets. Best wishes to all who knew her as they begin the process of grieving her loss.
January 10, 2023
Norma Reesor
May your hearts be held by the love we are all sending your way. Emma's bright light has been a short arc through the sky and many of us have been gifted by her effervescent life. May the spark that illuminated her now continue to give her closest friends and family the strength to keep breathing. Peace be with you.
January 10, 2023
Farah
Dear Emma's Fam and chosen fam, Sending my deepest condolences to you all. I only knew Emma for a short time as we played soccer together last season. She was so effortlessly welcoming and calmed my nerves as a newer player to the league. I quickly gained so much skill and confidence on the field with her just being her calm yet, badass self by my side on the Defense line. This news is so sad to hear. My thoughts are with all of you during this difficult time <3
January 09, 2023
Asha Heasman
Dear Tracy and Ginny, I am still trying to come to terms with the devastating news. She was a beautiful person inside and out, with so many talents. I remember first meeting her when we played shinny at the old Dufferin Grove rink years ago. More recently I ran into her in the neighbourhood. Hard to believe her bright light is gone. My deepest condolences to you and your family. I hope the memories you have will give you strength, now and always.
January 09, 2023
John & Teresa Freitas (yout neighbours)
Dear Tracy, Mark, and Yasch, We are so saddened to hear about the passing of your beautiful Emma. We will miss seeing Emma in the backyard with her dog. She always greeted us with such a warm smile and was always so polite. What a tremendous loss we will feel. She will forever hold a special place in our heart. Our deepest condolences to you and your family. Thinking of you, your neighbours John & Teresa
January 09, 2023
Sarah Jones
Emma brought so much joy to our league and will be missed each Sunday. Sending her family sincere condolences for the immense loss. Sarah (Bill Bolton teammate)
January 09, 2023
Yilang Feng
To Emma's family, I was in the same Master's cohort with Emma at McGill back in 2012. We have not kept in touch with each other after leaving Montreal, but I always remember Emma as a highly intellectual and strong-minded person. She has a very good sense of humor; at my birthday party, she and our friends made a birthday cake for me. I am deeply saddened to learn about her passing today, and I understand there is probably nothing that can help to alleviate your pain. Emma will continue to be loved by all of us.
January 09, 2023
Carol and Riley Kidd
I am standing in the sandpit at Dufferin Grove Park watching my dog, Riley dig in the dirt, as I learn of Emma’s passing. A fitting place to be, as we so often encountered Rory and Emma here. It was always uplifting to meet Emma in the park, as she was enthusiastic and positive about so many things, and always included Riley when giving attention to Rory. I, like many others, am devastated by her passing, and will miss hearing her relate stories of her many adventures, and express her views on a multitude of topics. But she was so understated about herself and her interests and successes that there are many aspects of her life that remain unspoken, and I will miss being able to engage in discussions with her . My condolences to Emma’s family for your loss of such a talented, caring girl. I share in your loss, and feel like a bright light has been dimmed in the lives of all the people who had the pleasure of knowing Emma.
January 09, 2023
Katy Whitfield
To Emma's family, friends, teammates, co-workers and all those she loved and loved her, I am so saddened to hear of Emma's passing. I was one of her high school teachers at Vaughan Road Academy. I had the privilege of learning alongside and from her both in the classroom as her history and French teacher, but also as a fellow traveller on a school trip to Italy. Emma's positive energy, sense of humour, quick wit, and kindness could light up a room! Being in her company made learning so much fun! I will always remember her curiosity, her beautiful spirit and the way in which she put some much of herself into her friendships and her learning. It was a privilege and a joy to have been Emma's teacher. The adjectives used to describe how she has grown up in the obituary, each reminded me of a moment when I remembered her spirit... even now some 16 years after she graduated and almost 18 years since she and I first met on the 3rd floor the school. I was able to find the yearbook of her graduation year and found the quotation that she put in next to her name. I think it truly sums up how Emma lived her life, full of special moments and full of life. This is what the quotation said: "Some people live their entire lives without every really living for a moment. Come climb this tree with me and it will be one more moment you haven't lived." You will be dearly missed Emma by so many; including me, your grade 10 history teacher. Rest in peace Emma. You are much loved, Madame Whitfield
January 09, 2023
Paulette Blais
Oh this is unbelievably sad. Emma was so beloved and had so much life ahead of her. My sincere condolences to the whole family. No words can really express how sad this is. I wish you whatever strength you can gain by being together as such a close family.
January 09, 2023
Henry & Rosemary Pannunzio & family
Mark & entire family, we are so sorry to hear of your loss.
January 09, 2023
François Besseron
Dear Tracy, Mark and Yasch, my sincere condolences to you and to all Heffernan and Neufeld family members. Emma radiated humor, intelligence and kindness. She gave me the happiest times of my life, and I remain infinitely grateful to her for this. She will live on in the hearts of everyone who knew her.
January 09, 2023
Dan, Nancy & Chloe Morningstar
Dear Mark, we are so deeply saddened to hear about the loss of Emma. We shared many happy times with her in Dovercourt Park. She was a bright light. Our deepest condolences to you and your family.
January 09, 2023
Consuelo Rubio
Dearest Tracy and family, what to say? I was so saddened by such devastating news. And yet, the same time reminded of the good times our children had in primary school and of Emma’s loveliness. I am up north for a couple of weeks and won’t be able to attend the visitation. May you be comforted by the love and support of those that love you. Un abrazo. Consuelo
January 09, 2023
Jen and Lenci
Dear Mark, I cannot tell you how sad we are to hear this heartbreaking news. I know Emma was the light of your life. Our hearts go out to you and Tracy and your family. Thinking of you, your neighbours Jen and Lenci
January 09, 2023
Christine Almeida
Dear Tracy, it’s unimaginable how deeply this loss cuts into you and all who loved Emma. Reading her obituary gave me a sense of how bright and beautiful her spirit was. Sending my love and prayers for healing.
January 09, 2023
Issy O’Brien
To Emma’s family and loved ones: I played hockey with Emma in Bill Bolton’s Women’s League the past few years, and we were defence partners for a few seasons. She was the best kind of teammate: warm, friendly, skillful, encouraging, and great fun to play with. When she played defence she was the kind of player who’d go for breakaways - she was spirited and always up for giving it a go. I am thinking of her warm smile and sending you all my deepest condolences.
January 09, 2023
Heather Lee
Tracy and Ginny, I am so sad and sorry to hear of Emma's passing, I spent years watching her grow up at Bill Bolton and had the pleasure of getting to know her off the ice as well. Whether it was chatting about her work or our shared love of dogs, I will remember her for her passion, tenacity and infectious smile that always made me smile. My sincere condolences to you and your family.
January 09, 2023
Heather Lee
Tracy and Ginny, I am so sad and sorry to hear of Emma's passing, I spent years watching her grow up at Bill Bolton and had the pleasure of getting to know her off the ice as well. Whether it was chatting about her work or our shared love of dogs, I will remember her for her passion, tenacity and infectious smile that always made me smile. My sincere condolences to you and your family.
January 09, 2023
Adrienne Rosen
Adrienne, Myra and Sally are crushed to hear of Emma’s passing. We are sending out deepest condolences and love.
January 09, 2023
Maureen Carter-Whitney
Dear Tracy and Ginny, I am so sorry to hear of the terrible loss of Emma. She was a fun and positive teammate in the Sunday night league at Bill Bolton. Her obituary gives a glimpse of what an incredible and accomplished person she was in all facets of her live, and how beloved she was. I send my deepest condolences and love to you and your family as you mourn and remember her.
January 09, 2023
Colene Roache
To Emma's family and friends please accept my deepest condolences. It was a pleasure to work with Emma at the Ontario Energy Board. Your smile and outgoing personality will be missed Emma. Please continue to rest in peace.
January 09, 2023
Karen Clark
I worked with Emma at the Ministry of Energy in 2018 and 2019. She was a delight to have on the team. She was clever, cheerful, professional and fun. It was a shock to hear of her passing. My deepest condolences to her family.
January 09, 2023
Margot Huycke
Tracy and Ginny, I am so sorry and so sad for your loss of Emma. I knew her on the ice playing Monday night hockey, you both introduced me to her. Last summer she was on my team with Ginny. She was delightful, so talented and high spirited, with a wonderful smile that we all remember so well. Her obiturary has described her beautiful self, I now know more about her gorgeous life-loves. My heart goes out to your entire family.
January 09, 2023
Goran Stanivukovic
Dear Tracy, I am sending you and your whole family my condolences for the death of your beloved, multi-talented, daughter, Emma.
January 09, 2023
Rusti L Lehay
So tragic. My deepest sympathies to you all. A lovely tribute to one who sounds like someone I would have loved dearly too. I cannot imagine how you might deal with this profound loss.
January 09, 2023
Rose Mary Murphy
Tracey and family, I’m so sorry for your enormous loss. There just aren’t any words that express the depth of your loss. The obituary of Emma was the most beautiful description of an amazing woman, daughter, friend, citizen of the world, that I have ever read.
January 09, 2023
Christine Dade
I had the absolute pleasure working with Emma at the Ministry of Energy. "Energy" being the keyword when working with Emma. Her travels and experiences were exciting to listen to, and she brimmed with confidence and enjoyment. My heart and prayers are with you all at this time.
January 09, 2023
Ashley and Oliver
I met Emma through my friend Vikki and played in the same soccer league. I'll never forget when I first met her. My son Oliver was 3 years old at the time and we were at Vikki's party. There was a lot of people at the party but Emma and Oliver connected- they danced together the entire evening. The two of them found each other at another party and again spent the evening dancing. She was one of those people that even young children knew was special and wanted to be around. Condolences to family, friends and teammates.
January 09, 2023
Allyson Payne
I’m so sad to hear about this. I live down the street and knew Emma and Rory from the dog park. It turns out we also played in the same hockey league. I cannot begin to imagine what you’re going through. Emma had a great energy and a lovely presence and I always enjoyed talking to her. I could tell how important her animals were to her. She will be missed. Thinking of all her family and how very very hard this must be.
January 09, 2023
Lisa Wyndels
Dear Tracy, I am so very sorry to hear of this. I remember Emma as a beautiful child. My heart goes out to you and your family.
January 09, 2023
Arland
I am so so sorry for your loss of Emma, a precious and spirited individual. How lovely it always was to encounter her smiling, energetic personality at hockey. Please know that I am thinking of you with love.
January 09, 2023
Steve McDowell
I'm very sad to hear about the loss of Emma, who it seems lived a very active and engaged life. My thoughts are with her family in this difficult time.
January 09, 2023
Deirdre Schueppert
We are so very sorry to hear of your loss. Emma, along with all the family, will be included in our thoughts and prayers. May she rest in peace. We send our love to you all. Deirdre and Clancy
January 09, 2023
Helen Luu
Dear Tracy, I just learned of this and my heart goes out to you and all who loved her. Sending you a hug during this difficult time.
January 08, 2023
Tracy McLaughlin
Dearest Tracy and Yasch, my thoughts and prayers and all my love are with you in the loss of sweet Emma. May all of your happiest memories sustain you throughout this sad time. With my love, cousin Tracy
January 08, 2023
Maureen Sullivan
I know there are no words that can properly comfort you all. Please know how sorry I am about you all losing Dear Emma. My thoughts & prayers are with you & I send you all my love !!
January 08, 2023
Stuart Atkinson
I had the privilege of meeting Emma at our Masters in Public Policy program at U of T. Emma was always a joy to be around with. She was extremely smart and a great team player. She was always there to help whoever needed an extra hand. I will remember the multiple conversations we had regarding policy and the world we live in. Sending my deep condolences to her family and loved ones.
January 08, 2023
Anne Healy
Dear Yasch, Tracy and family, We are sending you love and hoping you have soothing memories during these very troubled times. Emma's spirit lives on in you. All our love, Kay and Anne Healy
January 08, 2023
Karen Maguire
I knew Emma through hockey at Bill Bolton. She was always so kind,happy, a wonderful teammate. My condolences to all the family. Emma will be missed by so many. Sending love to all.
January 08, 2023
Debbie Janzen
Dear Mark, Dear Tracy, and Dear Yasch, Thinking of you with love as you mourn Emma and celebrate her life. I think of her as a young child, hat jauntily set on her head (sideways), with an engaging grin. I think of her as a young woman, confident and interested, gracious in conversation, same engaging grin. I will remember her with much love.