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Herndon, William M.

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August 10, 1921 - June 25, 2013

Herndon, William M.

Lieutenant Colonel William Meredith Herndon (Retired) was born in Fredericksburg, Virginia in August of 1921 to Mason Meredith and Myrtle Alice Bullock Herndon.   He went home to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on June 25, 2013. He graduated from high school at 15 then from the University of Richmond at 19 with a degree in biology.  Bill loved music. He played piano, trumpet, baritone, French horn and trombone. As a young adult he played piano in a boogie-woogie jazz band.  Bill’s first job out of college was as a public school teacher, however this career was short lived, as on Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, prompting him to enlist.  Bill wanted to enlist in the Army Air Corps because he wanted to fly.  His dreams came true when he got a telegram in the mail telling him he was selected for pilot training.

Bill formally enlisted in the Army Air Corps on April 29, 1942, and commenced flight training. He graduated flight school and became a flight instructor at Maxwell Field.  As a Second Lieutenant Bill had the privilege of training the Allied French pilots at Turner Field in 1943.

In June 1944, Bill married Christine Hall and they called many different places “home” over the next 69 years.  Bill continued flight training and flew many types of planes including the B-25, B-17, and his favorite, the B-29.

About a year after WWII ended, Bill asked for release from active duty, and they moved back to Fredericksburg, Virginia where he worked for the Sylvania Chemical Company as a chemist and then for his father’s wholesale dry goods store, Herndon & Company, Inc.  After seven years he was recalled from the reserves and in 1953 returned to active duty, due to the Korean Conflict.

During this time, Bill flew night missions in North Africa, teaming with Special Forces in the Air Resupply Command Squadron.  Later, he continued to accrue flight time in a variety of operational support aircraft, jet fighters and trainers, while assigned as an assistant professor of Air Science at Brown University.

In the mid-60’s, he flew the corridor from Wiesbaden to Berlin Tempelhof, collecting electronic intelligence of activities in East Germany.  In the late 60’s, Bill spent a year in Vietnam flying support aircraft and later had the honor of participating in Operation Homecoming by counseling POWs returning home from Vietnam.  Near the end of his Air Force career, he was awarded the privilege to be on Presidential Flight Support for President Nixon’s trips to Saudi Arabia.

Bill retired in June 1978 after 36 years of active and reserve duty. He was awarded over 30 medals including the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters.  He logged over 11,300 hours flying in 22 different planes. Bill was an exceptional leader and was well respected by those with whom he served, as evidenced by this testimony from one of his friends; “The greatest honor I had with the USAF was to be able to fly with Bill ‘Mister Perfectionism’ Herndon.  Bill is the ultimate professional and we all learned and benefitted greatly from following his lead.”

During their retirement in California, Bill and Christine became avid travelers, visiting Africa, Asia, Europe, Russia, Central and South America, the Middle East and all of the United States.  They also enjoyed weekly rigorous games of doubles tennis with family and friends.  They moved to Texas in 2001 and continued to travel, play tennis, live out their faith and make new friends.

Bill loved his Savior and put his faith into action wherever the Lord led.  He modeled Christ-like behavior to his family, in his work ethic, through his ministries and generous support to charities and missions worldwide.

William is survived by Christine, his wife and best friend of 69 years, children Rick (Susan), Steve (Julie), Gail, Keith (Deborah), Mark (Robin), eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren (with a fifth on the way).

The memorial service is Friday, July 12 at 11 AM at Stonebriar Community Church, 4801 Legendary Dr., Frisco, TX.

 

Donations can be made in William Herndon’s memory to:

Wounded Warrior Project  www.woundedwarriorproject.org

New Hope Uganda www.newhopeuganda.org

Arrangements are under the direction of ARIA Cremation Service and Funeral Home 19310 Preston Road, Dallas, Texas 75252, 214-306-6700.

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Fred Boutchyard

August 02, 2013 4:25PM

It was 1975 when Claudia, my wife, and I first came to Lompoc. After we had attended church one Sunday, we had a visit from Chris and got to know Bill in the following weeks. What a great Christian couple! Bill would pick up Claudia for choir practice and a bond soon developed. It was not the great things I remember about Bill but the small things. I can see him now in the old kitchen of the church up to his elbows in dirty dishes and soapsuds. He had a servant's heart and was always there for us. When we returned to Lompoc in 1984, it was just a short time and our 16 year old son was killed. Bill (and Chris) were there immediately to help us through this tragedy - going to the airport to pick up family or to provide food or comfort - they were there. Now Bill and Claudia are together again. I wonder if he stops to pick her up for choir? Can you imagine that, being in the presence of your Savour and singing in that celestial choir? Well done, thou good and faithful servant.


Vicki Dangers

July 14, 2013 10:11AM

I have only now received the word about Col. Herndon. I was just thinking about you all a few days back, and smiling at the wonderful memories of times in your home, and especially when we managed to talk Col. Herndon into playing some of his boogie woogie for us. I had no idea he was already in Heaven. He and all of you were and still are so very dear to me. I'm so thankful we'll all be together one GREAT DAY. We're praying for all of you in this very sad time. Jay joins me in sending his love and prayers. Thank you too, very, very much for making New Hope Uganda one of the suggested places for memorial donations. We are so blessed by you. Love, Vicki


sherrie (jackson) norden

July 12, 2013 7:46AM

I am so sorry for your loss. Praying for happy memories as you go through these rough days. May God keep His loving arms around you all.


Wayne Young

July 11, 2013 10:29AM

Many great memories of Col. Herndon. He was a very special man, and he will be missed. I only wish I took more time to hear even more stories from him.