Messages from the President | Celebration of the Life of Terry Ogden Herndon
10-13-22 Celebration of the Life of Terry Ogden Herndon (March 15, 1934 – August 6, 2022)
I attended a celebration of the life of Terry Ogden Herndon (March 15, 1934 — August 6, 2022) on September 24, 2022, at First Religious Society in Carlisle, Massachusetts. He was the husband for 66 years of Eva (Warmbrunn) Herndon. Antioch is indebted to Terry and Eva for their substantial financial support over the years culminating in the Herndon Art Gallery, where we will soon be privileged to witness Flourishing, an exhibit of photo and video work by five Black artists celebrating their stories and experiences.
It was a beautiful day in Carlisle, MA, when I arrived for the memorial; the sun was bright and warm, with a chill in the air. I walked upstairs to the worship area, which was already full when we arrived. Pianos, organs, and a banjo were played during the service, and many songs were sung.
Rev. Lisa Mobayed officiated. There was a reading from Jack Kerouac, followed by his family’s prayers, hymns, speakers, and musical interludes. J.T. Herndon played the banjo, and Henry and Grace Herdon shared memories of their grandfather. Keith Herndon reflected on the lessons his father, Terry, taught him.
Terry took his grandson Henry, a teenager, to buy a guitar for his birthday. Terry was willing to buy Henry whatever guitar he wanted, no matter the price. After trying out several, some expensive, Henry chose the lowest price one. Terry asked, “Of all these guitars in this store, you will pick that one?” Henry said. “Yes.” And Terry bought it for him. Henry still has that guitar at home. But he added, “Later, my grandfather bought me a baby grand piano.” We all laughed.
His son Keith explained how as a high school teenager, he wound up in a group drinking Southern Comfort. He took a sip, and it tasted so good going down that he took a few too many. When he realized he was drunk, he put a dime in an old telephone booth and called his father. His father understood right away. And all he said was, “Where are you?” And then he said, “I am coming.” He drove him home, no questions asked, and never said another word about it. And Keith added tearfully, “There were so many other lessons he taught me.”
Rev. Lisa’s eulogy pointed out that Terry Herndon believed more in mistakes and failures than successes. She explained how he was working on a car in his home garage, and he caused a fire to break out. Rev. Lisa said Terry calmly put out the fire and was excited about how much he had learned from accidentally starting it. Later his mother bought him a used car to work on but left it parked outside for safety. While many people believe in the saying, “If it is not broken, don’t fix it,” Terry always said, “if it’s not broken, go ahead and fix it anyway.” He taught us that we learn so much more from our failures than our successes. He was a lifelong artist and automobile enthusiast.
The program included lots of biographical information about Terry. He graduated from Antioch College with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, where he also met Eva. His fulfilling career at MIT Lincoln Laboratory spanned nearly 50 years. He loved his profession, which branched to founding his own company, Path Scientific, based in Carlisle. He was the patented inventor of several technologies spanning microfabrication, retinal implants, and medical devices.
At the service, I met Antioch alums Tom and Martha Svatek, who graduated in the ’70s; Eva Herndon, Terry’s wife; and Anne Groves, another graduate. Anne and her husband, along with Terry and Eva, married one couple right after the other on the same day they graduated.
I have attached four photos I took from a display of Terry’s life. One is a photo of one of his inventions, two when he was an Antioch student, and one of the Antiochians who were present at the celebration of his life: Tom and Martha Svatek, Eva Herndon, (me), and Anne Groves.
Terry Herndon was involved in so many endeavors and communities. Many showed up at the service singing the same praises of Terry’s work and life. We will all continue to hold him and Eva with all due respect and reverence.
In the Light,
Pronouns: she/her or inclusive they/them
South Hall, 4th Floor