in loving memory of
J. Merle Herr
July 16, 1932 - September 8, 2022
J. Merle Herr of Broadway, VA died peacefully on Thursday September 8, 2022 at home with his family at his side. Merle was born on a farm near Rawlinsville, PA on July 16, 1932, son of the late John H. Herr and Elizabeth Reinhart Hess Herr. He is survived by his wife Veronica K. Zimmerman Ranck; also his children Leon F. Perkins (Erma Smoker), John R. Herr (Lori Schoch) Rev. Dr. Rose Herr Wayland (Dr. David C. - deceased), James A. Herr (Rhonda Hayes, DVM), Cynthia J. Herr Eshleman (Rodney H.) and Janet L. Herr Dean (Gregory). Also, his step-children Sylvia Ranck Martin (Tom), Keith Ranck (Brenda), Kevin Ranck, and Denise Ranck. In addition to his children, he is survived by 28 grand and step-grandchildren and 42 great and step-great grandchildren. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews, cousins and other loved ones. In addition to his parents, Merle was predeceased by the mother of his children, Arlene L. Shenk Herr, his brothers, Paul H, Mark H. and Glenn H. as well as sisters Elizabeth H. Herr Peifer and Emma Alma Herr Groff.
After graduating from Lancaster Mennonite High School and starting a family, Merle attended Alfred University, Bucknell University, Eastern Mennonite College and Seminary and Elmira College. He was an advisor to Pennsylvania Governor William Scranton on housing for migrant farm workers, a charter member of Potter County (Penn.) Lions Club, board member of Mennonite Central Committee, Mennonite Disaster Service Eastern US Region, board member and vice president of Elmira (NY) Salvation Army.
After leaving farm life in his early adulthood, Merle served his alternate service (I-W) in Immokalee and Homestead, Florida providing daycare for children of migrant farm workers. Later he set up and administered a similar program in Potter County, Penn. He transitioned to being superintendent at Northern Tier Children’s Home, Harrison Valley, Penn. Following that he took the responsibilities of president at Grange National Bank in Ulysses, Penn. after which he left to be ordained for ministry at Pleasant Valley Mennonite Church in Bath, NY. Hurricane Agnes brought new opportunities; Merle led Mennonite Disaster Service relief work in Corning and Elmira, NY. During this time he was ordained as bishop serving Mennonite churches in the southern tier of New York. After the disaster recovery work was phased out, Merle and his son Jim purchased and ran Herr’s Hardware in Elmira. Eventually, the business was sold and Merle moved to Mt. Joy, Penn. where he took a job with Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.
In retirement, Merle and Veronica moved to Broadway, Virginia in 2016 to be closer to their children.
Memorial donations may be made to Mennonite Central Committee, 21 South 12th Street, PO Box 500, Akron PA 17501-0500 or Mennonite Disaster Service, 583 Airport Rd, Lititz PA 17543.