Donald F. Heran
April 7, 1922 – November 21, 2019
Lt. Col. Donald F. Heran, USAF, Retired, age 97, passed away on November 21, 2019, at his home in Merced, California. Don was born and raised in Trenton, New Jersey, to Vincent B. and Edith S. (Burroughs) Heran. He attended the local schools and graduated from New Jersey State College in 1943, and then enlisted in the Aviation Cadet Training Program where he completed his flying training as a pilot in the Army Air Corps. After additional training as a B-24 Liberator crew member, he was transferred to the Eighth Air Force 801st/492nd Bomb Group in England where he flew Office of Strategic Services (OSS) “Operation Carpetbagger” clandestine nighttime combat missions and dropped OSS agents and supplies to resistance forces in Nazi-occupied Germany, Denmark, and Norway until VE Day. In August 2018, Don was one of the recipients of the OSS Congressional Gold Medal for his Carpetbagger military service during WWII. Upon returning to the United States in July 1945, he married Doris V. (Miller) Heran. After VJ Day, he was released from military service. He entered Columbia University, obtained a MS degree in Education, and taught high school and college mathematics. In 1949, he accepted a commission in the Regular Air Force and was assigned to the Strategic Air Command where he served as a pilot of B-24, B-36, and B-52 aircraft in flight operations until his retirement in 1969. Don relocated to Merced, California, in 1970, where he worked for the County Public Health and Environmental Health Departments, retiring in 1979. He attended many courses at Merced College for his own enjoyment, fished the local rivers, hiked the Sierra, climbed Mt. Whitney, traveled extensively, and thoroughly enjoyed his life with his beloved wife, Doris, and spending time with his children and grandchildren. He was a life member of the Castle Air Museum, Military Officers of America Association, Order of the Daedalians, and the Eighth Air Force Historical Society. Don is survived by his daughter Patricia Gehres and son-in-law Steven Gehres of Applegate, Oregon; son Michael Heran and daughter-in-law Rose Nobile of Hercules, California; daughter Donna Heran of Manteca, California; and two grandchildren, Nathan Gehres of Reno, Nevada; and Lindsay Estep of Newberg, Oregon. Don was preceded in death by his wife of 72 years, Doris Heran; his parents; and his brothers Ralph B. Heran, of Glen Rock, New Jersey, and J. Walter Heran, of Trenton, New Jersey. In accordance with Don’s wishes, there will be no services. Memorials may be made to Castle Air Museum or a charity of the donor’s choice. The Heran family would like to extend our gratitude to the staff at Mercy Medical Center, Anberry Transitional Care, Bristol Hospice, the Hampshire Retirement Community, and Terrie’s TLC Senior Care.