Kenneth J. Herrmann Jr. died peacefully in his home in East Pembroke after a short battle with pancreatic cancer on November 2, 2014. He was 71.
Until his death, Ken served as associate professor in the Department of Social Work for the College at Brockport for 37 years. He was a Vietnam veteran who earned a Bronze Star medal for service in the United States Army from 1968-1969.
Much of his time and professional energy was spent championing children’s rights at the local and international levels. He leaves behind the Brockport Vietnam Program, a global, service-learning, study-abroad program, for which he served as director. In addition, he leaves the Danang QuangNam Fund, Inc., (also known as Agent Orange Children), a nongovernmental organization that provides monetary support for direct aid efforts in Vietnam.
The native of Lakawana, NY, is survived by his spouse, Susan L. Herrmann, his sister, Betty Zugger, and 11 children: Mark Herrmann, 41; Aaron Herrmann, 37; Rachele King, 36; Ruth Hubbard, 34; Gabe Herrmann, 33; Joseph Costanza, 25; James Herrmann, 17; Merrick Throm, 12; Rowan Throm, 10; Maggie Herrmann, 7; and Abby Herrmann, 4. His 4 grandchildren include, Alex and Alyssa King, Liam Hubbard, Ian Herrmann, and Caleb Herrmann. He is also survived by extended family, Tennille Richards, Payton Richards Smith, Indigo, Ella, and Jax Richards.
A community-wide memorial service and reception will be held on Friday, November 21st, from 7-9 p.m. at Brockport High School Auditorium, located at 40 Allen St., Brockport, NY 14420. There will be a memorial service from 7 to 8, followed by a celebration of his life, including a live jazz band. The event will be transmitted simultaneously via Skype to his supporters in Danang, Vietnam, hosted, it is believed, at the University of Danang.
There will be no other services. His body was donated for the purpose of scientific research and education to the University of Buffalo via its Anatomical Gift Program.
Upon making the decision to donate his body to the university, his son John told him "Dad, even after you're dead, you'll be teaching people!"
His widow, Susan, said after his diagnosis of prostate cancer in September, her family was gratefully inundated with greeting cards from the world over, and good wishes and prayers of hundreds of people. The children and staff at East Pembroke Primary School demonstrated great concern and support in the family's time of need, she said, and the Home Depot in Batavia donated the material and labor to build a fine and sturdy wheelchair ramp at his home.
"He came home from the hospital and saw that ramp, he was overwhelmed...he cried," Susan said. "He couldn't believe corporate America could be so kind."
In the intervening two months until his death, a daughter called the home atmosphere "The House of Happy." It's always filled with laughter, relatives, veterans, who still crowd in on Saturdays for dinner and camaraderie, and friends.
"He was a great father to the children and friend to so many," Susan said. "He had a gift for helping people and he had a profound impact on them. It is beautiful knowing someone whose life touched so many."
Donations in Ken’s honor may be directed to the Danang QuangNam Fund, Inc., or to Brockport’s International Education Program designating the Brockport Vietnam Program.
For information about causes he was passionate about go to http://www.agentorangechildren.org and http://www.brockportabroad.com