Joseph Farquahar Hetherington
Heart to Heart
by Cate Murway

“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” 
                                                                   Sir Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965)

Whatever one wants to assume about his intentions in his ongoing mission to keep alive the Gift of Life International, one cannot deny Joseph Farquahar Hetherington’s passion for the most critically ill children and his gratitude towards the benefactors, especially Dr. Pierantonio A. Russo, MD with his indefatigable energy; the sum of which have made Joe one of the driving forces behind the Bristol Rotary International programs.

The support of Rotary International through humanitarian projects large and small improve the quality of life for millions of people around the world. This team of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service promotes the cure and treatment of children from low-income families in third world countries who suffer from heart disease and other heart defects by promoting research, training and education in hospitals. This advances international understanding, good will, fellowship and peace throughout the world.

“You must give some time to your fellow men. Even if it's a little thing, do something for others - something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it.”  
                                                                           Albert Schweitzer (1875 - 1965) 

Joe Hetherington, BHS ‘56/ PCP/MIT/U. of PA/Temple U./ Advanced C Programming at BCCC was born on Cedar Street to BHS grad, Mary Rebecca [Conklin] and Croydon resident, James Orr Hetherington. He has one older brother, James Samuel in CA, an MIT electrical engineer who owns a US Patent for a “Hanging heating element for high temperature furnace”. His youth included no sports but he voraciously read electronics books. Before the age of 10, his room included a sturdy workbench with a soldering iron station. He created a crystal control intermittent frequency amplifier for a receiver while his classmates were involved in athletics.
Borough historian Harold Dodson Mitchener, BHS ’56 confirms, “I remember he was really good in science; thinking way above my level!” They have worked together on planning committees for BHS reunions and have painstakingly produced the “Rambler” newspaper with information relevant to their graduation year.

Joe’s dad was a Boy Scout leader but he never joined the troop. His father also smoked but he never did that, either!
He “won” a job at Rohm and Haas for maintaining the highest grade in science and his newspaper article and picture instigated the attention of medical receptionist Eleanor [Reel], Delhaas ’58. They lived on Jefferson Avenue for a time after they were first married before relocating to Forsythia Gate in Levittown. They have 2 children, Levittown resident Paul Joseph Hetherington, Maple Point H.S. ’78/Rider, Bristol Borough School District Technology Coordinator who works in the District Administrative Offices and Educational Complex on Farragut Avenue [wife, Donna, Delhaas ‘77] and FL resident, Dawn Eleanor Coughlin, Maple Point H.S. ‘81/ Florida State, M.S. Psychology. They are blessed with 5 grandchildren and a great-grandson, Tristan. His son Paul shared that his father taught him the “necessary things to make it in life and not just how to take electronics apart and put them back together”.

Joe’s radiochemistry research career in neutron activation tracer analysis started at Philco Corp, the pioneer in early semiconductors, battery, radio and television production. Mechanical engineering transported him to the Physics lab. His next position was senior production engineer for Honeywell in Fort Washington. This involved design for manufacturability and tooling to manufacture recording and controlling instruments, such as strip chart recorders that detect out-of-tolerance deviations over a long-term trend. Advancement in this company became impossible. 

Spurred on by a neighbor’s interest in lighting, he started his own business, Hetherington Industries on Admiral Wilson Blvd in Camden, NJ. He returned to PA with his venture,
renting a facility near the 3M Company on Manning Blvd. in Bristol Twp. before purchasing 416 Green Lane in 1996. Joe owns a patent for a Fluorescent light fixture that accommodates a circular type fluorescent light element. He “turned down the lights” and closed his business, currently leasing his property for light industrial/office space.

For this ethical, ambitious and determined 24 year Rotarian, “Service above self” is a deeply ingrained innate component. Joe is always there and ready to assume more than his share of the load. He is interested in various Religions; and based on the fact that Windows is a popular operating system for the computer, he feels that he personally functions as such i.e. his operating [filtering] system to the peripheral world is his religion.
His involvement as Secretary of Gift of Life International is a completely voluntary basis project of love, beyond borders, caste, creed, religion, race and color.
The Rotary-based Gift of Life movement has become a major force in facilitating free medical cardiac care primarily to indigent children suffering from congenital heart defects and other similar or allied illnesses who otherwise would have a dim future or none at all and who lack access to such services. The passionate and committed medical team, furthering the cause of world peace and understanding, ideally are comprised of a Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Pediatric Perfusionist, Pediatric Intensivist, Pediatric Critical Care Nurses, and Pediatric Cardiologist. 
The team fixes “broken hearts” around the world!

Their pediatric team has made 4 trips to Baranquilla, Colombia, 2 trips to Bucharest, Romania, 3 trips to Cluj Napoca, Romania, 1 trip to Tanzania, Africa and 3 trips to Chennai, India.

“A gift in season is a double favor to the needy.”  Publilius Syrus (~100 BC)

According to co-founder and his grant writing partner, Syracuse U. grad Bradley N. Stanton, 1995 - 1996 Governor of Rotary International District 7450 and retired President of First Penn Leasing, “Joe works with the medical team, coordinates and ships supplies and makes sure there are no problems with customs.” Success for Joe Hetherington is giving!

“That best portion of a good man's life, 
His little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.” 
William Wordsworth

The Gift of Life generates funds through grants, fundraising activities and donation solicitation, to defray the cost of the cardiac surgery and medical supplies and provide community and international services. Their last Continuing Medical Education Course was given at LifeLine Hospital in Chennai India this June. Sixteen $10.00 prepaid Sprint international phone cards [and chewing gum!] will be sent out the 1st week of October to their adopted platoon in Iraq. The Bristol Rotary Club distributed gazetteers titled, “A Student’s Dictionary” to 3rd grade students at the Snyder-Girotti school, St Ann School and St Mark School that not only provided a comprehensive dictionary but sections covering weights and measures, the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, maps of the seven continents, information concerning the 50 states, the biographies of 43 presidents and facts about the nine planets in the solar system. The Village Schools Matching Grant in Maharashtra State India provided books, bookcases and computers for the 4th and 7th grades at 20 village schools. Vibha Patil, Rotary Club of Nasik, India has completed an International Service Project with the Bristol Rotary Club to provide shoes for 855 school children attending ten village schools in Nasik India; and Bristol Rotary is currently constructing 65 “toilet blocks” in the tribal village of Manur India under a Matching Grant with the Rotary Foundation. Traditionally villagers use cow dung wash on bamboo for the schools to protect them from the weather.
On 9.17.08, the Rotary is presenting $3,000 to the American Red Cross Homeless Shelter on New Falls Road in Levittown.

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. 
If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”   The Dalai Lama (1935 - ) 

What better way to help a worthy charity than to enjoy a day of golf and spend an evening together? The Rotary is currently accepting reservations and team openings for an excellent competitive opportunity for golfers of all levels for the Rotary Scholarship Golf Outing 10.06.08 at the Yardley Country Club that helps our Bristol students reach their educational goals with this fund raising effort.

Joe writes and edits the weekly newsletter, the Chanticleer, keeping everyone informed.
Visit their web page:

“I expect to pass through this world but once; any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”        
Etienne De Grellet (1773-1885)

The 50-member Rotary Club of Bristol, part of Rotary International, District 7450, received a Charter from Rotary International in 1924, and has been continuously serving the community since that time.

To recommend a Bristol Borough Character to be spotlighted:

American Heritage Dictionary
char·ac·ter     n.  
Moral or ethical strength. 
A description of a person's attributes, traits, or abilities.