OBITUARY

Harriet Herns

December 28, 1927June 1, 2021
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Harriet Walker Herns passed through heaven’s gates on June 1, 2021. Harriet was born on December 28, 1927 in Alpine, Texas, to Fred Graves and Kathryn (Williams) Walker.

Harriet’s love of new ideas and experiences drove her to excel in her studies and other pursuits. Her father’s death when she was only 14, and her mother’s ability to carry on alone supporting her 5 children, made a deep impression on Harriet.

Harriet graduated as Salutorian of her class at Alpine High School in 1945. She then attended Sul Ross University, graduating with her BBA in 1949 with the highest GPA in her class. Midway through college, Harriet took a break to work at the Marfa Air Force base, where she eagerly acquired many bookkeeping, accounting and cash management skills.

Harriet earned her Masters in Professional Accounting from The University of Texas at Austin (with outstanding grades) in a time when women were not readily accepted into the profession.

Harriet moved to San Antonio to work for Marquis Eaton at Eaton & Huddle (later Pete Marwick/ KPMG) where she completed the practice hours necessary to earn her CPA in 1951. Harriet was active as a speaker in professional seminars and on television panels.

In 1953, Harriet’s brother David introduced her to his tennis partner, Toby Herns, originally from Venezuela and Trinidad. Harriet and Toby married in 1954, and had 3 children over the following 8 years. Toby continued working for Dow Chemical and Harriet initially worked for a Freeport accounting firm. In 1965, Harriet founded her own practice, ultimately called Harriet Herns, CPA, PC. Toby died unexpectedly in December 1971.

Harriet served many years as President of the Altrusa Club of Brazosport, as well as 20+ years as the Treasurer and Finance Committee Chairperson for Brazoria County Youth Homes, Inc. She also was a member of League of Women Voters and the American Association of University Women (AAUW), and spent many years as a parent member of the Coastal Cities Aquatic Club. A lifelong lover of the arts, Harriet was a board member of Brazosport Center Stages, the Brazosport Symphony Orchestra, and St. Timothy’s Arts & Recital Series.

Locally, Harriet served many years on the Pastoral Council at St. Michael’s Catholic Church, was an annual sponsor of the Brazosport Facts Newspaper in Education (NIE program) as well as Habitat for Humanity, and was a member of the Lake Jackson Downtown Retailers Association.

Harriet loved travel. Her destinations over the years included London, Rome, Paris, Lausanne/Geneva, Florence/Venice, Nice/MonteCarlo, Denmark, Russia (as part of a People to People delegation), big game viewing locations in Africa, Venezuela and Trinidad, as well as Mexico and Canada. (including a trip to the 1964 World’s Fair).

Harriet gladly served her community as a CPA for over 50 years. Her retirement pursuits included gardening, family and friends gatherings, swimming in her pool and avid reading.

Harriet was a lifelong student of her Williams family tree, tracing back through ancestors, who included frontierspeople, statesmen, oil men, and service people in American conflicts back to the French & Indian Wars and the Revolutionary War, ultimately back to England and Wales. Throughout her life, Harriet was an organizer of family reunions, many massive, in West Texas and at Surfside beach, which always included passionately passing on family history.

Harriet was most proud of her five children, eleven grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. Her greatest joy was supporting them in any and all of their activities, attending their events as frequently as possible. Every family member cherished her “bear hugs” and never doubted for an instant her all-in loving support.

Services

  • A Life Celebration Visitation Service

    Thursday, June 10, 2021

  • A Christian Funeral Mass to Celebrate the Life of Harriet

    Friday, June 11, 2021

Memories

Harriet Herns

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Mary Harnden

June 11, 2021

She was a woman who paved the way for many of us and an inspiration of dedication to her profession and her community. A pillar in our church and also passionate for her family.
Loved by her family and those she touched along her journey she will be sorely missed and a gift to all who met her.

Robert Royalty

June 7, 2021

Marc,
May you and your family celebrate and cherish the beautiful life your mom lived.
My earliest memories of your mom involves her being our Cub Scout Den Mother so may years ago!
What a full life she lived as she touched and blessed so many people with her many acts of service within the community.

Peace and blessings......Robert

Sandra Lease

June 6, 2021

It’s difficult to articulate the impact Harriet Walker Herns had on my life but I can say that so much of who I am today has everything to do with who she was to me starting when I was fifteen years old. This remarkable woman welcomed me into her home--a single, astonishingly compassionate act that changed the course of my life in ways too innumerable to state here. Perhaps the most important thing is that it gave me a resilient faith in humanity; the understanding that people would extend kindness and generosity for no other reason than believing it was the right thing to do. It is my great fortune that I never had to find out who I might have become without that awareness.
I’d never known such a woman before: strong, confident, independent. She believed in not just working but playing hard and I’ve never forgotten the sound of her laughter. From her epic birthday bashes to family reunions and more she knew how to savor life to its fullest. It was a glorious example for all those whose privilege it was to know her.
My first exposure to theater, ballet and opera came through Mrs. Herns and I continue to be passionate about musical theater. I never stopped calling her “Mrs. Herns” even until the last time I saw her around 2010! When I was younger it was out of intimidation but by that last time it was out of respect and maybe a slight nostalgia for the memory of my younger self who stood in awe of how such a woman came to be in my small corner of the world. She introduced me to culture and a world of beauty that up until that time I thought only existed in literature and movies. What an enduring gift!
Sometime in my thirties I wrote a letter thanking her for all she had done for me. The eloquent, heartfelt response I received back from her is one I will treasure for the rest of my life.
To Jon, Marc, Tica, Tom and Carol: My deepest condolences to you for your loss. May her memory be as a blessing to you now and always. I know it will be for me.

Tica Herns Massey

June 5, 2021

Herns Family, Christmas 1961
- Toby, Carol, Tica, Marc, Harriet, Tom

Tica Herns Massey

June 5, 2021

Harriet Herns's family group portrait,
taken at her 60th Birthday Party in 1987
- held around the indoor pool at the
.. Lake Jackson Hilton Inn

Tica Herns Massey

June 5, 2021

(Cont'd - part 3 of 3, end) Harriet gladly served her community as a CPA for over 50 years, with clients hailing her conscientious hard work, easy-to-understand explanations and creative solutions to complex problems. She finally retired at 84 years young. Her retirement pursuits included gardening, family and friends gatherings, swimming in her pool and avid reading.

Harriet was a lifelong student of her Williams family tree, tracing back through ancestors, who included frontierspeople, statesmen, oil men, and service people in American conflicts back to the French & Indian Wars and the Revolutionary War, ultimately back to England and Wales. Throughout her life, Harriet was an organizer of family reunions, many massive, in West Texas and at Surfside beach, which always included passionately passing on family history. Harriet’s father’s family, the Walkers, are based around Temple, Texas (Milam County), where Harriet attended their annual family reunions.

Harriet was most proud of her five children, eleven grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. Her greatest joy was supporting them in any and all of their activities, attending their events as frequently as possible. Every family member cherished her “bear hugs” and never doubted for an instant her all-in loving support.

Harriet is survived by daughter Tica Herns Massey, son Marc Herns & wife Melinda, son Jon Herns & wife Karissa, step-son Tom Hepworth, and step-daughter Carol Wilson.

Harriet is also survived by grandchildren JC Massey, Kelly (Herns) & Bobby Hill, Brewster & Krystin Herns, Heather (Herns) & Dustin Holtz, Cayla Herns, Hannah Herns, Kristian Hepworth, Cecilia Hepworth, Audrey Hepworth, Don Harlan, Tim Harlan, and eight great-grandchildren Austin Skye, Bobby & Cayce Hill, Micah Shane Herns, Corban & Toby Holtz, and Camden & Cadence Herns.

She leaves behind her sister & brother-in-law, three sisters-in-law, many cousins, nieces, nephews, loved ones and dear friends.

Tica Herns Massey

June 5, 2021

(Cont'd) In 1965, Harriet founded her own practice, ultimately called Harriet Herns, CPA, PC.

Harriet and Toby formed lasting community bonds as parent members of the Coastal Cities Aquatic Club, the competitive swimming team for which all of their children swam, and in their activities and competitions as members of the Lake Jackson Garden Club. Harriet also enjoyed serving as a Cub Scout Troop leader and then a Girl Scout Troop leader, as well as in various PTA positions.

Toby died unexpectedly in December 1971, when Harriet was only in her 40s and their children were still young. Soon after, Harriet’s mother Kathryn needed assistance and came to live in the area and with Harriet for 10 years.

Harriet served many years as President of the Altrusa Club of Brazosport, as well as 20+ years as the Treasurer and Finance Committee Chairperson for Brazoria County Youth Homes, Inc.
She also was a member of League of Women Voters and the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

A lifelong lover of the arts, Harriet was a board member of Brazosport Center Stages, the Brazosport Symphony Orchestra, and St. Timothy’s Arts & Recital Series.

Locally, Harriet served many years on the Pastoral Council at St. Michael’s Catholic Church, was an annual sponsor of the Brazosport Facts Newspaper in Education (NIE program) as well as Habitat for Humanity, and was a member of the Lake Jackson Downtown Retailers Association.

Harriet was honored with the Lobo Pride Award for support and promotion of the Kathryn Williams Walker - Clayton W. Williams Sr. Endowed Scholarship at Sul Ross University.

Harriet loved travel. Harriet and Toby honeymooned in Acapulco & Mexico City. Her destinations over the years included London, Rome, Paris, Lausanne/Geneva, Florence/Venice, Nice/MonteCarlo, Denmark, Russia (as part of a People to People delegation), Venezuela & Trinidad, and big game viewing locations in Africa, as well as Mexico and Canada.

Harriet Tica Herns Massey

June 5, 2021

HARRIET WALKER HERNS (1927-2021)

Harriet Ann Walker Herns passed through heaven’s gates on June 1, 2021, on her way to being reunited with her beloved husband R.T. (“Toby”) Herns (1916-1971) after 50 years apart.

Harriet Ann was born on December 28, 1927 in Alpine, Texas, to Fred Graves and Kathryn (Williams) Walker, a Chemistry professor and English professor at Sul Ross University. A thirst for education, a love of history, a gift for writing, and pride in hard work and striving for the highest standards are all family traits she exemplified, tracing back beyond her grandfather, Judge O.W. Williams a pioneer lawyer, surveyor and writer.

Harriet’s love of new ideas and experiences drove her to excel in her studies and other pursuits. Her father’s death when she was only 14, and her mother’s ability to carry on alone supporting her 5 children, made a deep impression on Harriet.

Harriet graduated as Salutorian of her class at Alpine High School in 1945. She then attended Sul Ross University, graduating with her BBA in 1949 with the highest GPA in her class. Midway through college, Harriet took a break to work at the Marfa Air Force base, where she eagerly acquired many bookkeeping, accounting and cash management skills.

Harriet earned her Masters in Professional Accounting from The University of Texas at Austin (with outstanding grades) in a time when women were not readily accepted into the profession. Harriet moved to San Antonio to work for Marquis Eaton at Eaton & Huddle (later Pete Marwick/ KPMG) where she completed the practice hours necessary to earn her CPA in 1951. Harriet was active as a speaker in professional seminars and on television panels.

In 1953, Harriet’s brother David introduced her to his tennis partner, Toby Herns, originally from Venezuela and Trinidad. Harriet and Toby married in 1954, and had 3 children over the following 8 years. Toby continued working for Dow Chemical and Harriet initially worked for a Freeport accounting firm.

Jane Roney

June 5, 2021

Wishing you peace to bring you comfort, courage to face the challenging days ahead and loving memories to forever hold in your heart!

Harriet, you gave me my very first Texas size hug and welcomed me into the family in 1980. We shared many adventures and made fun memories including visits to the Houston Opera, the Houston Ballet, and the Great Caruso. Memories of fun family reunions at the beach houses in Surfside Beach, family holiday gatherings which of course included 42 domino games where my partners often were Jim Wilson and Doug Poole, I became pretty good at that little trick-taking game.

Trip to Cozumel, Mexico in 1983 where I was five months pregnant with Kelly driving a scooter around the beautiful island sightseeing and where Rodney and I have since returned on numerous amazing vacations years later. Another unforgettable and memorable trip to a family reunion at Prude Ranch, Fort Davis, Texas in 1986 when Kelly was three years old, and I was eight months pregnant, suddenly felt ill and had an early morning visit to Brewster County Hospital Emergency Room, where Brewster was almost born and thus given the name that fits him so well. Thank you for being a wonderful grandmother and great-grandmother!

Welcoming my parents and Godparents when they visited from Denmark… and welcoming my husband Rodney into your home and always made him feel welcome and belonging.

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic the last time we got to visit with you in person Harriet was at Krystin and Brewster’s baby-shower when they were expecting little Micah Shane in 2020 where your exceptional memory was demonstrated when your eyes lit up and you called Rodney and me by our names as had we just seen you yesterday… I had fun sharing the delicious Petit Fours cakes you loved so much, and you enjoyed every bite.

Fond memories shared by former daughter-in-law. Rest in Peace!

Love, Jane and Rodney Roney

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