John Ashley Heagle, 74, of Massena

Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 6:15 PM EDT
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John Ashley Heagle, 74, of 235 North Main Street, Massena, NY passed away peacefully on...
John Ashley Heagle, 74, of 235 North Main Street, Massena, NY passed away peacefully on Tuesday, September 5, 2023, at the Champlain Valley Physician's Hospital in Plattsburgh, NY surrounded by his loving family.(Funeral Home)

MASSENA, New York (WWNY) - John Ashley Heagle, 74, of 235 North Main Street, Massena, NY passed away peacefully on Tuesday, September 5, 2023, at the Champlain Valley Physician’s Hospital in Plattsburgh, NY surrounded by his loving family.

Beagle, also known as “Beaks” was born on September 29, 1948 in Ogdensburg, NY, son of the late Malcolm J. and Grace Marie (Ashley) Heagle. He was a graduate of Massena Central High School.

John was a communicant of St. Joseph’s and St. Mary’s Catholic Churches, where he was also employed as the custodian and grounds keeper for many years until his retirement due to health. He loved and highly respected Fr. Jack Downs and they often celebrated birthdays together at their favorite restaurants.

John was a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, celebrating 38 years of sobriety. He was always willing to be a sponsor for someone in need if they asked him and would help them in every way possible.

John was a member of the Massena Senior Citizens Club and enjoyed their many dinners, dances and comradery.

John was a volunteer for the Massena Neighborhood Center and was a delivery driver for many years for their Thanksgiving and Christmas Programs. He would also sponsor a family with children at Christmas.

Johns favorite charities that he supported were always ones to help benefit children as he loved all children; St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, St. Labre Indian School in Ashland, Montana, for Northern Cheyenne and Crow children, and Smile Train, Inc. where he sponsored two children with the total expenses of cleft palate surgery.

John had a very strong work ethic even as a small boy, he would be knocking on neighborhood doors after snow storms, shovel in hands, looking to help shovel driveways. At age 10 he was a paperboy for the Watertown Daily Times and had 35 customers. He worked for Norman Laneuville at Brown’s Store on East Orvis Street, Woody Smith’s General Store, Coca Cola, Johnson Newspapers, and St. Joseph/St. Marys Catholic Church.

At an early age he saved his money to buy his brother David a brand new bike, only to have it stolen shortly after he gave it to him. John enjoyed shopping at Levine’s Clothing Store, he always felt they had the nicest clothes in Massena. He and Simon had a conversation, an agreement was made, and he opened a charge account. Beagle was probably Simon’s youngest customer to ever have a charge account at his store and he was one of the best dressed students in school because of it.

Beagle had many friends he loved and they would all tell you that he had the gift of “gab”. A few minute conversation would easily turn into hours. John was humbled, appreciative and thankful for everyone who stood by his side and their kindness shown to him. They all made his life easier through out his many health conditions; Merrill, Thomas “Whipper”, Steven, Freddie, Dixie, Beverly, Julie, Chris, Autumn, Thomas, Cherie, Elaine, and the friends he made through Meals on Wheels and the health community.

Beagle always spoke fondly of his “dogpatch brothers” and the stories he would tell with a smile were endless. He had a great love for his Aunt Carol, his beagle dog Hunter, and being on the St. Lawrence River in his boat.

He enjoyed hunting and was proud of his 10 point buck “Buckie” which he displayed at home for all to see. He enjoyed fishing and boating as much as possible, and four-wheeling at Wolf Pond. His favorite meditation spots were over-looking the St. Lawrence River at the Waddington Beach and Massena Intake.

John enjoyed rides in the country and to Wolf Pond with his dear close friend and buddy “Pink” Floyd. They will truly miss that.

Beaks was a very spiritual man. Every morning he would read his Day by Day Prayer Book and it would accompany him to every hospital stay or nursing home. He prayed to God for himself, his loved ones, friends and often people suffering with hardships that he didn’t even know. He was always there when or where kindness mattered.

John had a very strong will to live even though he had endured so many health obstacles and battles with numerous medical problems. He is now at rest with God and Jesus and is no longer suffering in constant pain.

John always wanted everyone to see the beauty of life and all that it offered as he saw it through his eyes. These were his loving children, grandchildren, brother, sisters, all of his family, friends, and the St. Lawrence River. Upon John’s passing he donated his eyes to the Transplant Center so that someone else could see the beauty of life through his eyes, as he did. He donated his body to The Robert Larner, M.D. College of Medicine in Burlington, Vermont and upon completion of their research, he will be cremated and brought home.

John will be forever missed, loved, and remembered by his family. He is survived by his children; Malcolm J. (Adrian) Heagle of Florida, Amy Heagle Levison of Potsdam and Nicole (Dave) Jester of Florida, his grandchildren Izalena, Paige, Lindsey, Ryan and Eric; two great grandchildren Jaxon and Jason; his siblings; Grace (Bud) Byington of Massena, Suzanne (Ronald) Stoinoff of Niagara Falls, Linda (Mike) Bonesky of Niagara Falls, Diane (Albert)Chaviano of Florida, and David Heagle of Ohio, his best friend in the world Elaine Clark of Constable, along with several nieces, nephews and cousins.

John cherished each and every moment he spent with his children and grandchildren. He loved all of his children unconditionally. Loving someone so dear to your heart, the way they are, and loving them until your last breath without expecting anything in return, is the purest form of love and John had that.

We will not say “good bye” to John, but that we love you forever, will miss you, and “we’ll see you around the bend.”

As per Beagle’s wishes there will be no calling hours or funeral service. His family will have a celebration of his life at a future date.

Donations may be made in John’s memory to Massena Meals on Wheels.

Arrangements are under the care and guidance of the Donaldson Funeral Home. Words of comfort, memories and condolences can be shared with his friends and family online at