Major Jerald J. Herring
December 23, 1928 – September 4, 2019
Major Jerald J. Herring, USAF, retired, age 90, died peacefully on Sept 04, 2019. Jerald was the seventh child born to Benjamin Pinkney and Martha Jane Herring during the Great Depression. As the youngest son in a farm family, he began helping his father and brothers work in the fields when he was five years old, drawing water from the well and running it out to them every hour. In high school, he was very active in 4H Club, becoming a respected judge of livestock who was in high demand for county fairs and 4H Club competitions. At one competition held at Miss State University, he began his lifetime love of the Bulldogs and was determined to go to school there. By the time he was 16, Jerald had applied his animal husbandry skills to raising “fryer hens,” and was making more money than the whole rest of the family farming operation, but like most young men in WWII, felt the call to defend his country. He asked his mother to sign a release for him to enter the Marine Corp even though he was underage, so he could join his brothers Armand and Truitt, and his sister Ira Lee in the military. He completed his basic training at Camp Lejeune, entering on active duty and beginning deployment to invade Japan when the atomic bomb ended the war.
After his discharge at the end of WWII, Jerald took advantage of the Montgomery GI Bill to fulfill his aspiration to attend Miss State University. During his third year at State, while visiting a friend in Jackson, he met a young woman named Virginia who was attending business school, and she became the great love of his life. They were soon married and expecting their first daughter, Pamela. He reluctantly left school, entering the newly formed US Air Force to support his growing family, beginning his career as a USAF officer. A second daughter, Patricia, soon joined the family, and the family moved frequently to new assignments around the world. During his 20-year career, Jerald served in Korea and Vietnam, attended electronic school to become a radar maintenance officer, was a squadron commander at many bases, and returned to Miss State to complete his degree. In 1965 a son, Michael, joined the family and just five years later Jerald retired from the Air Force. The family returned to Mississippi, settling first on the family farm, then moving to Jackson to begin his 20-year career in state government.
During one of his early USAF duty assignments, Jerald joined the Freemasons, which became a lifelong focus. Over the years, he advanced in the organization, joining the Scottish Rite. Later
he joined the Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. Over the years, he held several leadership positions with the Masons, including serving as Lodge Master four times.
Miss State Football remained a lifelong passion, and while he lived in MS he never missed a home game. In 1980, he and Michael were on the front row for perhaps the biggest win in Mississippi State football history when the Bulldogs upset the #1 and two-time defending national champion Crimson Tide 6–3 in Jackson, snapping Alabama's 28-game winning streak. After moving to MO, Jerald watched the Bulldogs play on television whenever televised, and even made it to a few home games over the years.
His children grew, graduated from college, and started their own families. In 1989, Virginia passed away, and a couple of years later Jerald moved to Blue Eye, MO where he remained until his recent illness and death. In Blue Eye, Jerald stayed busy as an active member of the First Baptist Church of Kimberling City where he loved singing in the choir. He was also an officer in the Table Rock Lodge 680 A.F. & A.M.
He is survived by his children Pamela (Greg) Dixon, Patricia Gibson, and Michael (Dani) Herring, seven grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild. Jerald was predeceased by his beloved wife Virginia, his parents, and his four sisters and three brothers. A graveside service will be held in his honor at 10:00 am on September 9, 2019 at Pine Grove Baptist Church located at 124 Gather Johnson Rd, Magee, MS.
He is survived by his children Pamela (Greg) Dixon, Patricia Gibson, and Michael (Dani) Herring, seven grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.
Jerald was predeceased by his beloved wife Virginia, his parents, and his four sisters and three brothers.
- Graveside Service Monday, September 9, 2019
Major Jerald J. Herring
September 13, 2019
The Officers and Members of Table Rock Lodge #680 A.F. & A.M. would like to offer their condolences to the family. We are very saddened to hear of the loss of our Brother.
Barry Jenkins - Secretary
September 11, 2019
So sorry! I knew him thru his sweet wife, Dot.
September 6, 2019
My condolences to the family of Jerald Herring. I was his Home Health Care Aide from Phoenix. He was wonderful person and enjoy working for him. I will miss cooking for him and watching OutNumbered with him. He did love when I would make double chocolate brownies or banana bread. But one time I brought a piece of chocolate cake I made and he told me it was the best chocolate cake he ever had. He did teach me how to make his famous pralines. Also I will miss seeing him every day and talking to him.
Kimberling City Missouri