John Augustus Herring, III, was born March 29, 1930, in St. Petersburg, FL. He died on April 20, 2012, in Richmond, Virginia. He was the son of Dr. John A. Herring, Jr. and Evelyn Dulin Herring (formerly of Lexington, KY).
John attended Florida Military Academy (now Stetson Hall University) in St. Petersburg. After graduation from FMA, he became a Cadet at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, VA. It was noted in “The Bomb,” the VMI yearbook, that one could hear Mr. Herring before one saw him because he was always whistling Beethoven or Bizet. Classical music and a love for the arts in general followed him the rest of his life.
After his commission, Herring served in the United States Air Force in Korea where he was a First Lieutenant and attaché in the 49th Bomber Squad. Upon completing military service, John received a Master of Arts in History at the University of Virginia and became a lecturer for the E. I. du Pont de Nemours Company.
Herring returned to Charlottesville in 1958 and became Assistant Dean and Director of Newcomb Hall at UVA, a position he held until 1989. During his tenure at the University, John organized and produced the University’s Artists Series. Because of his intense interests in music and the arts, he brought many world renowned performers to the University and Charlottesville community, including, Van Cliburn, Mischa Dichter, Julie Harris, The London Symphony, The Hague Philharmonic, and many illustrious Broadway productions. Often, he served tea and sherry after the performances. Many great artists attended gatherings at his antique filled home. His students relished the opportunity to meet these performers in a small setting. John took great pride in his association with the University and often said the Artists Series was his finest hour; the Series lasted for many years.
Mr. Herring, as he was known to his students, was supportive and generous. John’s objective in life was to encourage education for his students and everyone he met. To that end, he worked tirelessly to let young people know there was a world beyond their immediate eyes, and to promote tolerance.
After retirement from the University of Virginia, John moved to Richmond and resumed his travels. He drove across the United States, and visited friends. A world traveler, Mr. Herring especially enjoyed his many visits to Europe. He had a special love and respect for Venice, Italy, and his Professor Robert O. Cuppy whom he said was his greatest teacher.
An avid collector of fine art, his eye for detail was that of a connoisseur. To his friends, when he wanted to be the teacher, he would say, “well, that is pleasant, but it isn’t real.” John continued his pursuit of, and interest in, arts and antiquities for the remainder of his life. He donated a number of important pieces to the University of Virginia Art Museum, where he served on the collections committee.
A great supporter of the Serpentine Society, he provided scholarships to students in need to help them continue their studies. His friends and former students joined him in establishing the John Herring Scholarship for Social Awareness at UVA. Herring was honored with the Distinguish Service Award by the University of Virginia Alumni Association, among others awards received during his tenure at UVA.
John Herring was preceded in death by his parents, twin sister, Jane (in infancy), and sister, Evelyn (Herring) Harmon. Survivors include his nephew John Harman and wife, Patricia, of Bluefield, West Virginia; and their daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, both of whom are in doctoral programs of which he was very proud.
In lieu of flowers contributions can be made in his memory to the John Herring Scholarship for Social Awareness care of the University of Virginia Alumni Association.