Heather, beloved daughter of the late Anne W. MacGonigal and the late Robert C. MacGonigal was welcomed into heaven on March 20th … the 1st day of Spring. A heart condition and related infections took her from us.
Heather was born 6 weeks premature at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor. She was born with Vacterl Association (a recognized group of birth defects) which required numerous surgeries the first four years of her life. In spite of that, she shone, even then, with the love and spunkiness that characterized Heather throughout her life.
Heather and her mom moved from Michigan to New Jersey in 1974 to be near family. Heather graduated from Madison High School and then from Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia with a major in Recreational Therapy. Heather’s love of children prompted her to attend Nanny School and she was happily a nanny for a family with 5 boys.
Heather was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at age 26. She and her mom pursued every possibility for relieving the symptoms of this debilitating disease. Dr. Saud Sadiq, research neurologist and Director of International Multiple Sclerosis Management Practice, provided Heather with a variety of interventions for over 20 years and Heather took on each new challenge presented by this disease.
A true “Lady” in every sense of the word, Heather was always thinking of others. She was courageous, sweet, strong, and hope filled. She found joy in simple things. She loved to surprise someone with a special gift (and she delighted in receiving a surprise or two herself.) She had a quick wit and a wicked sense of humor. As Lady MacGonigal (she really did own that landed title!), she was meticulous about her appearance and especially liked wearing jewelry that had special meaning for her. Her wheelchair was her throne.
To say that Heather loved cats is an understatement. Whenever she chose a cat, it was one she didn’t think anyone else would want. Heather was especially heartbroken about leaving her cat, Misty, behind when she went into the nursing home. (Misty still has not been adopted and she is living at the Mt. Pleasant Shelter in East Hanover, New Jersey.)
Heather pursued and embraced many interests – photography, needlework, quilting, jigsaw puzzles, ceramics, board games, country music, reading and researching her ancestry. She collected unique fairy and dragon artworks. Her favorite Disney character was Eeyore. How fitting that Eeyore’s quotes seem like they were written just for Heather because it’s how she lived her life … “A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.” And “It never hurts to keep looking for Sunshine.”
Heather is survived by her grandmother, Sophia Freed (101 years old), Aunt Carol (Bill) List, Uncle David Freed, Aunt Joyce (Bill, deceased) Freed-Winther, Aunt Sue (Scott, deceased) MacGonigal and many cousins whom she loved and connected with throughout her life. Heather touched the lives of everyone who knew her. Caregivers would say it was an honor and a blessing to care for her.
Heather was brought back to Michigan in May of 2017 by Karl and Carmen Zeigler (Heather’s godmother) via a medical transport plane. She lived at the Martha T. Berry Medical Care facility in Mt. Clemens. Heather missed her mom, her closest friend, every day but she still found the strength to go on living and make good friends and reach out to others.
A Celebration of Heather’s life will be held on Saturday,: Mar 31, 2018 3:30 PM (EST) via the internet. The link, should you want to be part of the service, Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://zoom.us/j/494304938 Or iPhone one-tap :
US: +16468769923,,494304938# or +16699006833,,494304938#
Or Telephone: Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
US: +1 646 876 9923 or +1 669 900 6833 or +1 408 740 3766
Meeting ID: 494 304 938
International numbers available: https://zoom.us/zoomconference?m=HcaJrJEGLagDZdNaNr_GJ4fpsWPxjYeL
Memorial gifts may be made in Heather’s name to:
Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter
194 Route 10 West
East Hanover, NJ 07936-2107
Dr. Saud A. Sadiq, Director
TISH MS Research Center
521 West 57th Street, 4th Floor
New York, New York 10019