BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Former Fruitvale Junior High Principal John Hefner died on Sunday at the age of 74 after being diagnosed with cancer last year, according to a close friend.
In November, Hefner was diagnosed with lymphoma, an aggressive form of cancer, and had been receiving medical care at home. A GoFundMe account raised $45,000 to help cover the cost of his treatment.
Among his many contributions to the community, Hefner was the driving force behind Fruitvale’s History Day program. Over the years, Hefner saw dozens of History Day students bring home honors at both the state and national level.
Hefner was also instrumental in the creation and growth of Bakersfield’s Sister City program, which is embodied in Bakersfield’s Sister City Gardens near Mill Creek Park.
KGET spoke with Hefner in December about his diagnosis.