Cover photo for James "Jim" Heifort's Obituary
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1932 James "Jim" 2024

James "Jim" Heifort

December 8, 1932 — May 19, 2024


James Myron Heifort, 91, passed away on Sunday, May 19, 2024, leaving behind a legacy of compassion and advocacy for the humane treatment of animals.

Born to Clarence and Mildred Heifort on December 8, 1932, in Moorhead, Minnesota, Jim grew up in Fargo, North Dakota and spent the majority of his life in the F-M community.

Upon his graduation from Fargo Central High School in 1951, Jim began attending Moorhead State University but was drafted midway through his studies and served two years in the US Army.

At the conclusion of his tour of duty, he returned to Moorhead and completed his undergraduate degree in English.

Jim taught History for a year in Glasgow, Montana, before returning to Fargo-Moorhead and earning his Master’s degree in History at NDSU.

On September 10, 1959, Jim married Fern Bradley. The young couple soon moved to a home outside of Moorhead, enjoying the country life and welcoming two horses as well as a long succession of beloved dogs into their family.

In the fall of 1960, Jim began teaching at Moorhead Senior High School, where he would teach English and History courses over a career that would ultimately span 33 years. Although he retired in 1993, Jim continued to serve as a substitute teacher long after his retirement.

Beyond teaching, however, Jim had an entirely different career, and one he was equally passionate about: that of indefatigable crusader for animal welfare.  

With Fern by his side, Jim was a tireless force for improving the lives of creatures great and small, including household pets as well as animals on factory farms, in research labs, and in pet stores.  

He was a founding board member of the Fargo-Moorhead Humane Society as well as a founding member of ETHICA (a group which successfully lobbied for legislation protecting animals in pet stores).

A longtime member of the F-M Kennel Club, Jim taught dog obedience for 22 years.

He served as F-M Humane Society investigator for 11 years, speaking out for the voiceless and championing the defenseless.

A gifted educator not only within the classroom but also in his life outside of school, Jim influenced countless people by gently enlightening them in terms of simple steps they might take to make the world a more merciful place.

Jim was devoted to Fern, his helpmate of 65 years; to animals -- especially his dogs -- and to thousands of students who benefited from his wisdom, sense of humor, and twinkling smile.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents and only sibling, his sister, Jane. He is survived by Fern and many friends who will miss him dearly and who ask that in his memory, special kindness be given to the animals in your life.

Jim's funeral will be Wednesday, May 29, 2024, at 3 PM, in Korsmo Funeral and Cremation Service, Moorhead.  Visitation will be one hour before the service.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James "Jim" Heifort, please visit our flower store.


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