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Valley man looks back on varied life

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

Bob Herman, center, is joined by his family from left, grandson Erik Herman, son Kevin Herman, granddaughter Brittany and daughter-in-law, Diane at Cedar Creek Senior Living as Bob is honored in a “This is Your Life” event.


Eighty-two-year-old Robert “Bob” Herman has been everything from a touring band musician to a milk delivery man. But perhaps his busiest work was handling burials for the U.S. Army.

“I was in charge of Sixth Army Burial Detail, burying as much as 24 … in one day and approximately 2,888 funerals in a little more than 2 1/2 years … I was very pleased with what I did in the service,” said Herman at a “This is Your Life” gathering in his honor at Cedar Creek Senior Living in Madera last week.

Before that undertaking, he performed as part of Sixth Army band. “We played all over the state of California for parades, Rose Bowl, did some TV shows,” recalled Herman, who played the trumpet.

After his military service, he studied enology at Fresno State University and received a machinist degree at a junior college. In the years that followed, he worked as a pest control advisor, sold farm chemicals and fertilizer, worked a men’s clothing store, delivered milk, managed a 2,000 acre range, bought raisins for Bonner Packing Company in Fresno, and — after a heart attack — sold real estate in Madera.

Born half a mile from Biola on June 28, 1934, he had met his wife in grammar school, and they dated until her senior year at Central Union High School in Fresno – followed by their wedding in January 1952.

“She was a great wife, great German cook, mother and grandmother,” he said. “When we got married, she was 17 and I was 20 years old. In those days, I made $95 a month and she worked at hospitals in San Francisco ... She made $350 per month.”

While his children grew up, he coached Little League for around a decade as well as Pop Warner football for half a dozen years. He belonged to the Lions Club and supported Future Farmers of America.

When his wife’s health declined, he stayed home to care for her, and – a handful of years ago — she “passed away in my arms,” he said.

“She was a wonderful wife and partner. No arguments.”

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