Willard S. Curtin entered private practice upon his graduation from the Law School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1932. He established his office in Morrisville, Pennsylvania, where he had lived most of his life. In 1951, Temple Law School graduate William F. Heefner joined the law practice. As fate would have it, the alliance of the staunch Republican (Mr. Curtin) and the prominent Democrat (Mr. Heefner) evolved into one of the most successful and respected law firms in the history of Bucks County.
Mr. Curtin was the First Assistant District Attorney of Bucks County from 1938 to 1949 and served as the County’s District Attorney from 1950 to 1956. He was elected to Congress in 1956 and served five terms; during the 1962 election he defeated Democratic rival and Bucks County native James A. Michener, the Pulitzer prize-winning author.
One of the most beloved politicians in Bucks County history, Mr. Curtin never forgot that he represented the people, and that his duty was to bring their concerns to Congress. After working in Washington, D.C. during the week, Mr. Curtin regularly returned to his district office on weekends to meet with his constituents. It is believed that he was the first Bucks County politician to survey the voters by distributing questionnaires; it is known that he closely read and quickly responded to the comments received.
Mr. Curtin retired from Congress and the practice of law in 1966. He resided in Florida until his death in 1996 at the age of 90.
While his partner served in the Congress, Mr. Heefner assumed responsibility for managing the business of the firm. He also provided leadership to the Bucks County Bar, served as its president in 1965-1966, and served as a member of the Board of Governors of the Pennsylvania Bar Association from 1976 to 1979.
Under his stewardship, the firm grew in numbers of attorneys as well as in its scope of legal services, to accommodate the changing legal needs of the area. The firm developed a strong municipal law practice, and in 1971, became the first law firm in Bucks County to be recognized as Municipal Bond Counsel. During the 1970s, Curtin & Heefner served 23 school districts, municipalities, school authorities and water and sewer authorities.
Mr. Heefner is well known for his contributions to the cultural and historical heritage of Bucks County. He was elected a trustee of the Bucks County Historical Society in 1971 and later served as its president from 1974 to 1989. During his tenure as president, the Mercer Museum experienced major expansion and earned recognition as a national historic treasure. From 1989 to 1995, Mr. Heefner was a commissioner on the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, and also participated on the board of the Heritage Conservancy, formerly known as the Bucks County Conservancy. In 1998, the Bucks County Historical Society accorded Mr. Heefner its highest honor, naming him the recipient of the Henry Chapman Mercer Award. The award is given annually to those “who, like Henry Mercer, have left their lasting mark on the community and the culture of Bucks County.”
In addition to his work with the historical society, Mr. Heefner was active in the Bucks County Democratic Party, and served as its treasurer for many years. He was the President of Ursinus College, his alma mater, from 1990 to 1997, and a Trustee of the College from 1969 to 2008. In 1986, the William F. Heefner Chair of Music was established at Ursinus.