Carbondale –The Hertz family lost their beloved father and husband, Donald Hertz, 88, who passed away at home on Saturday, December 10, 2016. After a valiant effort to cope with his multiple health challenges, he left for his heavenly home surrounded by his loving family. His parents (Gilbert and Anita Hertz) and sister, Elizabeth Ahrens, are already there.
Don was born on March 2, 1928 in Kankakee, Illinois, where he began his teaching career after graduating from Illinois State University in 1950. He taught in the brand new East Junior School and began the high school's tennis team. He was well qualified as he was the former city champion.
He married Vivienne Virgene Lucas on August 19, 1950 in Kankakee, who survives him. Other survivors include three sons and a daughter: James Gilbert (Frankfort, IL), Jon Donald (Lindenhurst, IL), Jeffrey Michael (St. Charles, MO), and Marcia Branning (Gulf Breeze, FL).Their spouses are Janet, Renee, P. Dali Hertz, and Wade Branning. The fourteen grandchildren, include Vickie Fick (Matt), Kelly Siebert (Chad), Paul McGowan (Rachael), Keri McGowan, and Joseph Hertz; Sean (Kristen), Shanna, Corey; Ashley and Nicholas Hertz; Steven and Colleen Swenson, and Wes and Grace Branning. The five great grandchildren are Travis and Grace Fick; Lola and Beau Siebert, and a not yet named boy to be born in the spring of 2017. Other survivors include a brother-in-law, Earl Ahrens, nephew Scott Ahrens (Kathleen) and family of Kankakee and two first cousins from the same area: Sandra Ortiz and Jacqueline Bournique.
Don served his country in the United States Air Force from 1952-1954, mainly at Tinker Field in Oklahoma City. He worked at his father’s funeral home in Kankakee after receiving his Funeral Director and Embalming licenses from Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Chicago. His previous schooling was a B.S. degree, majoring in biology at Illinois State Normal University and a M.S. in Public Health from the University of Oklahoma.
He became one of two faculty members who started the Mortuary Science Program at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, later becoming an associate professor and department chairman until his retirement in 1988. He was active in the Illinois Funeral Directors Association. Further, Don and Vivienne have been members of First United Methodist Church for over 50 years.
He enjoyed spending time outdoors where he was an avid fly fisherman who spent many hours at Little Grassy Lake in his jon boat. He usually took one child at a time to teach and remind them that fish don't grow in trees.
Tennis was an important part of life; in fact, he and Vivienne stopped in Traverse City, Michigan, on their honeymoon so he could enter and win the city championship. Upon his early retirement in 1988 he competed in tournaments in the local area as well as in Florida and Hawaii. He also enjoyed playing locally with friends at the SIU courts.
Memorial services for Donald will be 3:00 p.m., Saturday, December 17, 2016 at the First United Methodist Church, Carbondale, with the Rev. Alan Rhein officiating. Visitation will be from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. on Saturday at the church. Meredith Funeral Home in Carbondale is assisting the family with arrangements.
Memorials to the Donald Hertz Scholarship Fund made in care of the SIUC Foundation are the preferred remembrance. Envelopes will be available and accepted at the church or funeral home.