Mary Patricia Heithoff

Mary Patricia Heithoff peacefully passed from this life into the loving arms of God and her parents on January 17th, 2020.

She was born in Council Bluffs, on June 14th, 1958, to Robert and Donna Heithoff. She was diagnosed with Down syndrome, and at that time there were no pamphlets, no early intervention centers, no support groups, no anything to help her parents. In fact, doctors told them that she would be feeble-minded and helpless, she would not live more than eighteen years, and she would be a burden for them and their other children. The experts advised them to place her in an institution. They didn't do that. They believed there was value in every life. They brought her home to five siblings and raised her along with them and the two other children who were born subsequently.

Her family did not dwell on what Mary could not do. Instead, they taught her all they could and delighted in every milestone she achieved. What they didn't expect is what she would teach them and every person lucky enough to know her — how to live joyfully, how to laugh, how to love.

She was a trailblazer for all those born after her with Down syndrome. She showed them by example that they could live a full and extraordinary life — that their extra chromosome did not have to limit them, but in fact was their superpower.

Mary was a strong, happy, and optimistic woman who positively impacted the life of everyone she met. She accepted her friends and loved ones just as they were with no conditions and no judgment. Her smile could make one feel like the most important person in the world.

The Heithoffs were twice blessed when another child with Down syndrome was born into their family in 1973. Mary loved her brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews, but she particularly doted on her little brother Joe. They had a special bond that was a joy to witness.

Mary Pat attended Dr. Lee Martin Therapy Center, volunteered at Rose Kennedy School, and worked at Vocational Development Center (VODEC).

She loved singing and dancing, Elvis and the Fonz, coloring, her dog, Coco, Diet Coke, and talking with her loved ones about everything.

Mary is survived by her brothers and sisters, Linda Borman (Tyler), John Heithoff (Peg), Thomas Heithoff (Joyce), Daniel Heithoff (Judy), David Heithoff (Sheila), Julie Piffner (John), Joseph Heithoff; her nieces and nephews, Molly Solorzano (Alvaro), Emily Brownlee (Matt), Beth Lantry (Tom), Nathan Heithoff (Jamie), Katie Darrington (Shawn), Annie Burns (Greg), Ben Heithoff, Sam Heithoff, Ali Heithoff, Aaron Heithoff (Kelly), Amanda LeGrand (Bobby), Hannah Piffner, Abbey Piffner, Emma Piffner

and 22 great nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be at Cutler-O'Neill Funeral Home on Tuesday, January 21st, from 5 to 7 p.m. Funeral Mass, Wednesday, 10 a.m., at St. Peter's Catholic Church. Interment St. Joseph Cemetery. Memorials to be decided by the family.

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