Donald (Don) Joseph Hevey Obituary

Donald Joseph Hevey (Don)

Donald Joseph Hevey (Don) died peacefully on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021 at his home with his family by his side. He was born on Jan. 8, 1943, in St. Johnsbury, Vermont; the third child of Eugene E. Hevey and Ursula Begin Hevey. Born into a large French-Canadian family, Don lived in Vermont until the age of 14 when his father relocated the family to West Palm Beach, Florida.

Don graduated from Saint Ann High School in West Palm Beach, earned an AA at WPB Junior College, and arrived in Tallahassee, Fla. where he attended Florida State University for both a Bachelor of Science degree (1965) and a Master of Social Work degree (1968). He has spent a long and storied career in the service of those with behavioral health needs.

While completing his MSW Don worked for the Leon County Mental Health Clinic (now the Apalachee Center for Human Services). He was “in the trenches” when the new, not-for-profit Community Mental Health Centers were forming around the U.S. When Florida’s Office of Mental Health began looking for people to help develop a network of CMHCs, they found Don. The federal government also hired him to go to other states to share his experience. His time in this position led him to shift from helping develop CMHCs to leading one. In 1975 he became CEO of Manatee Glens MHC in Bradenton, Fla. In 1981 Governor Bob Graham asked Don to step in as the Program Director of the Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Program of the old HRS; a move that brought him back to Tallahassee.

In 1985 a small group of CMHC directors recognized that the tides were turning; their government funding was drying up, and they needed to find a way to cope with the challenges ahead. The group formed as Mental Health Corporations of America and hired Don Hevey as their first President/CEO; a role he filled for 28 years. Growing up with a contractor father and a busy mother who made no excuses for not getting the job done, he knew how to find solutions that would work for the greater good.

MHCA’s mission was to focus on learning to be “business oriented” to fulfill their commitment to place mental health services in their respective communities. Under his leadership MHCA achieved enormous success. In the early years he collaborated with consultants to develop the Mental Health Risk Retention Group to provide insurance that members were unable to secure elsewhere. Don’s motto was “We can do that!” – though sometimes his staff wondered “how?” – he always made things happen.

At the age of 70 Don retired from MHCA in January of 2013. He then accepted a job with Genoa Healthcare, a national company that places pharmacies in behavioral healthcare facilities. He served as their Community Development Director until 2018, then retired to spend time with Joy and his family at his beautiful retirement home here in Tallahassee. He loved working on the property, reading a good book, sailing with friends, anything that would make his grandchildren laugh, FSU Sports, watching the wildlife outside his door, and just quiet time with Joy. He did not have a “bucket list” and was so grateful for the beautiful life he had.

In addition to his parents Don was preceded in death by his sister Lori Hevey and two brothers, Bernard Hevey and Normand Hevey. He is survived by his loving wife of 31 years, Joy NeSmith Halks Hevey; his children Elise Hevey Batchelor (Bryan) and Brinton J. Hevey (Lisa): stepchildren, Joy Ellen Hendrix (Chance), all of Tallahassee, and Patrick S. Halks (Mandy) of Tampa, FL and eight beautiful grandchildren, Zory Batchelor, Bace Hevey; Audrey, Anwen, Michael, Timothy and Lucy Hendrix, and Annabelle Halks.

Also surviving are brothers, Raymond Hevey, Ocala, Fla.; Louis Hevey (Carolyn), Lake Mary, Fla.; sisters Joanne Hevey Pintacuda (Larry) of Tallahassee, Fla., and Denise Hevey Paige (Bob) of Satellite Beach, Fla. Joy’s family, brothers Lee, Danny, Joe, and Robert NeSmith; sisters, Dot Frye, Mary Ellen Jordan, Sheryl Rehberg, Margaret Windham, Kathy Turner, Charlotte Kantartzis, Charlene Stinson; and a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins. Don also leaves a multitude of friends from this community and around the nation who will miss his sage counsel and his wonderful sense of humor forever. The family thanks Dr. Broseker, Dr. Morris and the staff at TMH Cancer Center, the staff on the Oncology floor at TMH, and Big Bend Hospice.

His family will hold a private burial at Pisgah UMC where he was a member. There will be a Celebration of Don’s Life on Jan. 8, 2022 at Bevis Funeral Home of Tallahassee. Details to follow.

The family has established a Memorial Scholarship fund for a Master of Social Work student at the FSU College of Social Work in Don’s Honor. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to FSU Foundation: 325 W College Ave Tallahassee, FL 32301 or online at https://give.fsu.edu/donhevey

Memorial contributions to Big Bend Hospice are also encouraged: https://bigbendhospice.charityproud.org/Donate

Breanna Green of Bevis Funeral Home is assisting the family with their arrangements. (850-38502193 or www.bevisfh.com).

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