Joe Denoyer - August 11, 2017 8:33 am
Ernest Herald, 91, of Hooker, Oklahoma passed away August 10, 2017 at Bellevue Health & Rehabilitation in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Ernest was born May 18, 1926 the son of Roy and Bessie (Hampsten) Herald, he lived his entire life in Hooker, Oklahoma.
Ernest started school at the Dage and Lemon country schools near the family home NW of Hooker. Ernest often rode his horse to school. As a freshman at Lemon, Ernest was 6 ft. tall and weighed 120 lbs. earning him the lifelong nickname of “Slim”. He graduated as class President from Hooker High School in 1944 and married Rowena Francis Thompson in Liberal, Kansas on May 30, 1948.
Ernest was passionate about service. He loved his Lord and worshipped faithfully at the Hooker Church of Christ where he served as a deacon for so many years no one can really remember. Ernest had a passion to help young people giving many a young man their first job. He started the Herald Family “FFA Winners Dinner” to inspire young people to strive for excellence. He took great joy in presenting gold dollars to beginning showmen at the local stock shows. He also helped his community by serving on various boards and councils, including the Texas County Junior Livestock Show Board, the Oklahoma Swine Association Board and the American Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS) Board. This love of service led to several honors including being named the Honorary FFA Chapter for the Hooker FFA, as well as Balko and Hardesty Chapter Honors, Oklahoma Honorary State Farmer Degree, 1980 Farm Bureau Farm Family of the Year.
In an 80-year remembrance of Black Sunday, April 15, 1935, Ernest was asked to testify in front of the Oklahoma Congress regarding the development of conservation practices. He recalled for Congress being out with his father on a rabbit drive when the Black Sunday storm rolled in. In 2016, Ernest was featured in a video segment produced by SUNUP, a Division of OSU’s Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. The spotlight was not a comfortable place for Ernest. When he was named the 2011 Pioneer Day Parade Marshall, he joked that his true title was “Chief Pooper-Scooper.”
Ernest loved the land. He began his farming career with his father in the sand hills where he was born and continued the farming tradition with his son. Before farming could totally support his family, Ernest worked as a carpenter. He worked on the Turpin school, as well as several houses in Liberal, Guymon and Hooker. He built a home for his new family, a new home for his Aunt Goldie, and added an apartment for his mother-in-law on to the home he remodeled and where they lived for 57 years. The use of new farming equipment, all green of course, and conservation practices were a source of joy for him.
Ernest never really retired, he continued, in his words, as “go fer” until his stroke in March 2017. Even in his last days, he eagerly waited for news of harvest which was the only harvest in 91 years where he was not an active participant.
Ernest treasured his family. He loved his parents and remembered with pride his dad’s ability to engineer things. When his littlest sister was born in the heat of June, Ernest’s dad, Roy, put a fan in the window attached to a generator and had Ernest keep the burlap wet. He laughed of the memory of being a water boy.
Ernest is survived by his wife of 69 years, Rowena, who is living in Wheatridge Park Care Center and children Dan Herald and his wife Marva of Hooker, OK, Debbie Wilkins and her husband Bill of Houston, TX, and Mary DeSelms and her husband Shane of Mustang, OK. Grandchildren include Marcie and Jason Rudd, Gabe and Merideth Herald, Austin and Tenae Herald, Tammy and Keith Kuehn, Jennie Wilkins, Megan Salvatore, Matt and Amanda DeSelms and Katie and Ryan Newby. Ernest’s great grandchildren are Lawson and Hudson Rudd, Jennings Herald, Lucas, Barrett and Bo Herald, Nathan and Katelynn Kuehn, Max Salvatore, and Kaden, Kaycee, Korbyn and Kylin DeSelms. He is also survived by a sister, Evelyn Witzke and two brothers Keith and wife Jerri Herald and Doyle and wife Kaye Herald, numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and a host of friends.
Ernest’s life will be celebrated at 2:00 p.m., Friday, August 18, 2017 at the Hooker church of Christ, Hooker, OK. Duane Eggleston and Lance Morrisett officiating. Interment will be in the Hooker Cemetery directed by Roberts Brothers Funeral Home in Hooker, Oklahoma.
Memorials are suggested to the Hooker Ambulance Association or the Hooker Firefighters and may be left at Roberts Brothers Funeral Home, Box 745, Hooker, Oklahoma 73945.
Condolences may be left at www.robertsbrothersfuneralhome.com