Wake: Friends may visit with the family on Tuesday, June 7th from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM at Collins Funeral Home, 92 East Avenue, Norwalk. Services: Services and interment will be private. Donations: Debbie was a genuine lover of animals, and her family requests donations in her name, in lieu of flowers, sent to the Connecticut Humane Society.

Debra Gates Vargo Heffron


June 4, 2011

Debra Gates Vargo Heffron, 56, of West Haven, CT, passed away Saturday, June 4, 2011, at Yale New Haven Hospital after a sudden illness. She was surrounded by her family when she passed. A former resident of Norwalk, and a 22 year employee of Stew Leonard’s, she was a genuine light of so many of her customers’ days, and will be sadly missed by many. Debbie was the daughter of the late Frank J. Gates Jr. and Anne Liquori Gates. She is survived by her husband Bill Heffron, brother, Frank Gates, son Christopher Vargo, Jr., daughter-in-law Kirsten Vargo, step-daughter Kelsey Heffron, and her beloved grandson Michael Vargo, as well as numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.

Friends may visit with the family on Tuesday, June 7th from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM at Collins Funeral Home, 92 East Avenue, Norwalk. Services and interment will be private.

Debbie was a genuine lover of animals, and her family requests donations in her name, in lieu of flowers, sent to the Connecticut Humane Society.

  1. Bill, I can’t even begin to tell you how heartbroken I am for you. The two of you shared a love very few people are lucky enough to ever experience! I know she was the love of your life: your soul mate. Words can’t begin to tell you how sorry I am for your loss! My heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathy goes out to you and all of Debbie’s family.

    September 28, 2011
    Kit -
  • I am so sorry for the passing of Debbie. She was a bundle of joy each day that I worked with her for my 6 years of being employed with Stew Leonards. I will miss talking to her online. She had the best personality that anyone could have. RIP Debbie You are loved and missed by everyone

    September 28, 2011
    David Mitchell -
  • im sorry to hear about that she was a very beautifull woman she will missing stew love you Debb norma from Stew

    September 28, 2011
    Norma Salomon Luly -
  • We are shocked and saddened by this terrible loss your family now must face. Hold on to your wonderful memories and know she is still with you in your hearts. Because of the loving, warm, friendly person she always was, she will be missed and prayed for by so many – we have been praying for her and her family she loved so much with her whole heart! Rest in PEACE…….. With love and sympathy, The Chieffalo/Wargo Family xoxoxo

    September 28, 2011
    Sue-Ellen, Eleanor & family -
  • debbie will always be in my heart.she was a wonderful person I worked with her for 23 years and will always think of her. she will be forever missed at stews.

    September 28, 2011
    eileen williams -
  • Chris, Kirsten, Michael, Frank, and Family, Our hearts go out to you in this time of great sorrow, may you find peace in knowing she is in a better place. She is watching over you & protecting baby Michael with her angel eyes <3 We love you and are here for anything you need. Love always, Luis, Erika, & Christian

    September 28, 2011
    Luis, Erika, & Christian -
  • A butterfly lights beside us like a sunbeam. And for a brief moment its glory and beauty belong to our world. But then it flies on again, and though we wish it could have stayed, we feel so lucky to have seen it. There is comfort in friendship, hope in prayer, peace in love. Sharing in your sorrow with love and friendship.

    September 28, 2011
    Anne Passarelli -
  • Dear Family: I am so sorry for all of you. I am so blessed to have had Debbie in my life. I will miss her visiting me here at work. She loved all of you so much.

    September 28, 2011
    Carol Marranzini -
  • My thoughts and prayers go out to all those who were lucky enough to know you. I am truly blessed for being one of the lucky ones. All my love to Bill, Chris, Kirsten, Frank and Michael.

    September 28, 2011
    Michele Joerg -
  • Chirs, Kirsten & Baby Michael, I was deeply saddened to hear of your loss. Just remember the good times and know she will always be with you. My deepest condolences to you in this time of sorrow.

    September 28, 2011
    Leeann Kranmas -
  • May Deb rest in peace and always be the angel looking down upon you every day of your life! You two seemed to have a very special love and that will never die.

    September 28, 2011
    Barbara Smith -
  • Chris – Sorry for your loss, We did not know your mom, but we know you and that has to be a tribute to her. Our love and prayers are with you. God Bless you and your family.

    September 28, 2011
    Diana and Gerry Ciaburri -
  • Dear Debbie, May you rest in peace. We love and miss you so much. God bless our friend and co -worker.

    September 28, 2011
    Chris Arnette -
  • I enjoyed working at Stews with Debbie. She always brought a smile to my face with her great sense of humor. When I left Stews she always remembered my birthday and sent me a card. She was a wonderful person and will be missed dearly..

    September 28, 2011
    Pam Zavarelli -
  • Debbie, back when I was a little one, you were like a second mother to me. You were a great person and will be greatly missed. May you rest in peace.

    September 28, 2011
    Artur Cielesz -
  • Bill my thoughts are with you in this tough time. God bless you.

    September 28, 2011
    Daniel Trzcinski -
  • Dear Debbie’s Family, I was so sad, and shocked, to see Debbie’s obituary in THe Hour. As a regular Stew’s customer, I would actually try to get in Debbie’s line so I could talk with her. She didn’t even know my name, and yet she extended her trademark friendliness and warmth to me and made my day happier. She was the kind of person that people just wanted to be around. My prayers are with all of you as you grieve, and I hope you can feel that Debbie will always be with you and guide you in the years to come.

    September 28, 2011
    Rebecca Sweeney -
  • My condolences to the family. I was fortunate to work with Debbie for over 10 years and will miss her very much. She was taken too soon, but her family was lucky to have her for the time she was with us.

    September 28, 2011
    Curtis -
  • Dear Old Friend, Thank you for your many kind words, pleasant smiles, and wonderful memories. Thank you for sharing the stories of your love for your husband Bill, your son Chris and his family, and your brother Frank. I loved talking with you about your love for Jesus and about your Faith in God. I look forward to seeing you again “In heaven”. God Bless you “old friend” and my deepest condolences to your family and friends.

    September 28, 2011
    Wayne Henion -
  • Kirsten and Chris, I am so sorry for your loss. Although I never met your mom it was heartwarming to hear Kirsten talk of her…always with such love, affection and devotion. To me that is a true testament of just how wonderful this woman was. I am heartbroken that you have lost her so soon. Please accept my sincerest sympathy and know that I will keep all of you in my thoughts and prayers. Betty Pepe

    September 28, 2011
    Elizabeth Pepe -
  • I heard the terrible news today at the Stew’s Charity Golf event. My thoughts and prayers are with Bill and the entire Family. Debbie will be missed. We now have another Angel looking over us.

    September 28, 2011
    Eileen -
  • Deb, you will be truly missed by all. R.I.P.

    September 28, 2011
    nicky -
  • DEAR FAMILY, HOW SAD AND SHOCKING ALL AT ONCE TO HAVE DEBBIE TAKEN WITHOUT WARNING. I ALWAYS LOOKED FOR DEBBIE AT STEWS WHEN WE WERE BACK IN TOWN. SO HAPPY TO HEAR SHE FOUND THE LOVE OF HER LIFE AND ALL THE NEWEST JOYS THAT CAME HER WAY. SHE WILL BE SO MISSED! WE SEND OUR DEEPEST SYMPATHY TO ALL HER FAMILY AND FRIENDS.

    September 28, 2011
    MICHELE AND JOHN DIBERARDINO -
  • Debbie was one of a kind in so many ways. She will always be in my mind whenever I am in Stew’s and always in my thoughts when I draw my Cranky Bears. Love to her family. Ann J

    September 28, 2011
    Ann Jasperson -
  • I met Debbie several years ago when shopping at Stew’s. We became good friends and exchanged e-mails, photos and lots of conversation. She sent pics of her wedding and we corresponded on Facebook. I just learned of her death yesterday and am shocked and saddened. It was a joy to know her and of her love for her family. My sincere sympathy –I will miss her too.

    September 28, 2011
    JoAnn Taylor -
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