James Michael Herrington Obituary

James Michael Herrington

James Michael Herrington, a long-time educator, was born November 17, 1941 in Ranger, Texas, the firstborn of Doris Rice and Phelton Herrington. He died on March 6, 2017 at his home in Fort Worth. A celebration of “Mike” will be held 12:00 P.M. Wednesday, March 22nd at the Broadway Baptist Church (305 W Broadway Ave) in Fort Worth, Texas and an inurnment will be 1:00 P.M. Thursday, March 23rd at Evergreen Cemetery in Ranger, Texas.  

The first 19 years of Mike’s life were spent on the farm, land that had been in the family for at least two generations. It certainly qualified as an example of diversified farming but became primarily a dairy farm. During his high school years he managed the dairy along the side of his mother.

Having begun his college education at Ranger College, he won a scholarship to continue at his beloved Baylor University, completing a B.A. in English-education. While on campus he worked in Carroll Library.

John F. Kennedy had a very influential role in Mike’s life as a servant to others. Mike joined the newly formed Peace Corps where he volunteered serving in Ecuador (1964-1966). He was one of the very first volunteers to serve in the Peace Corps.  His service was with Heifer Project and then as an English teacher.  

He took a job teaching at downtown Washington Junior High in Albuquerque, the state’s original junior high.

Next he went on a full fellowship to Georgetown University, where he earned an M.A.T. in English as a second language. He then returned to Albuquerque High School to direct a program in ESL. These were the last five years on the old campus (oldest building predated statehood) before it was relocated. At AHS he met Margery Koerner, a biology teacher. They were married in 1970, a marriage that lasted 13 years.

In 1976 the family moved to rural southwest Iowa, where the children would grow up. He taught in the school and advised the school publications there before becoming part of an education and resettlement program for migrant farm workers based in Omaha. Later he also worked on the administrative staff of Bellevue College. Then he took his favorite teaching assignment at Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, where he taught Spanish for 16 years as well as advising the yearbook. Mike earned more than 30 semester hours in Spanish without ever earning a degree in it. This study included summers in Guadalajara, Mexico, and Madrid, Spain.

In 1999 Mike returned to Texas, where he taught in both Fort Worth and Dallas, before retiring and substitute teaching for several years. In his fifties he came to understand his sexuality more fully and came out as gay—not only being more fully honest but also working in advocacy for all LGBT persons, especially within the church. He was an early member of Soulforce, founded by Reverend Mel White.

He met his life partner, Charles Hardy in 2001.  Their relationship, of 15 years and 8 months, was solidified by a legal marriage in Iowa in 2009.

Mike was an avid reader and belonged to several book clubs. He truly loved horses and grew up with them, a skill that translated into two summers’ work in the Rocky Mountains as a wrangler. Another of his hobbies was genealogy, an interest whetted at an early age that led to long conversations with the surviving children of his four sets of great-grandparents as well as sorting through old records.

He is survived by the love of his life/Spouse Charles Allen Hardy of Fort Worth, TX. His two sons, Keith and his wife Starr of Omaha, NE and Mark and his wife Jocelyn of Alexandria, VA and his daughter Janet Herrington Peterson and her husband John of Prattville, AL. They blessed him with grandchildren Brandon Rainey, Andrea DeDomenico and husband John, Joanne Miller and husband Ben, Adam Rainey and Meghan Witchall, Connor Rainey, Brooklynn Rainey, Bryce Herrington, Sean Rainey, and Grant Herrington. There are five great-grandchildren: Sadie, William, Anthony, Elizabeth, and Sofia.

In lieu of flowers, the family would ask that you donate to a memorial fund to benefit His beloved husband Charlie, by sending donations via PayPal to markherrington@yahoo.com or to Mark Herrington at 707 Devon PL, Alexandria, VA. 22314.

Online condolences can be made at www.edwards-funeral-homes.com.