Ryan Baxter Heffernan

August 19, 1988 - August 4, 2022
Ryan Baxter Heffernan

Ryan Baxter Heffernan, of Leland, N.C., passed away on August 4, 2022, completing his journey of 33 years.

Ryan was born in Mount Kisco, N.Y. on August 19, 1988 and moved to Wilmington, N.C. at the age of 3. He was a 2006 graduate of Hoggard High School and went on to graduate in 2010 from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.

Ryan was the ultimate adventure seeker and nature admirer. He spent a month in New Zealand and Fiji, where he helped with an environmental renourishment project, bungee jumped and white-water rafted.

Ryan served as an AmeriCorps VISTA in the Campus Compact program at Iowa Wesleyan University in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. He hiked the entire Appalachian Trail on his own, from Georgia to Maine, in 6 months. He was also an avid skydiver, earning the U.S. Parachute Association’s ‘A’ license, which allowed him to jump solo.

Ryan is lovingly remembered by his parents, Douglas and Diane, of Leland, N.C., and his brother and sister-in-law, Tyler and Ashley, of Charleston, S.C. Ryan is also survived by his great uncle Henry and aunt Sarah, great aunt Felicie, uncle Lloyd, aunt Joan, aunt Michelle, aunt Valerie, uncle Al, and his cousins: Danny (Lindsay), Alison (John), Drew, John (Ashley), Melissa (Justin), Chris, Kristen (James), and Lauren (Jason).

He was preceded in death by grandparents Charles and Alice and Pat and Barbara, uncle Jay, and cousin Lisa.

Ryan will be deeply missed by his family, friends, and everyone who knew him.

A time of visitation will be held from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, August 13, with a celebration of life and time to share memories at 11:00 a.m., at the Wilmington Funeral Chapel, located at 1535 South 41st Street, Wilmington, N.C. 28403.

Ryan’s service will also be live-streamed. To view the stream CLICK HERE.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy or to any of the U.S. Parachute Association’s four established funds.

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Wilmington Funeral & Cremation 1535 S. 41st Street Wilmington, NC 28403 910.791.9099.




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  • August 15, 2022
    Joanne D and Johnnymal lit a candle:
    Lit since August 15, 2022 at 8:01:43 AM

  • August 14, 2022
    Joanne DeMattio/John Malandrino says:
    Dear Diane and Doug, our deepest sympathy and thoughts to you & your family on the loss of your wonderful son Ryan. We are sending you both hugs for comfort. Our Prayers for Ryan. Joanne D and John Malandrino

  • August 14, 2022
    CHRISTOPHER WOOD lit a candle:
    Lit since August 14, 2022 at 8:36:51 PM

  • August 13, 2022
    Sandra Winkler lit a candle:
    Lit since August 13, 2022 at 8:20:22 AM

  • August 12, 2022
    Kye Slezak says:
    The world feels a little colder without you bud. We love and miss you so much. More than you know.