In Memoriam: James Francis Herndon
December 16, 2021
James Francis Herndon, a professor emeritus of political science at Virginia Tech, died on November 4, 2021, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was 92 years old.
Herndon attended both the Cathedral High School and the John Herron School of Art, both in Indianapolis. He received his undergraduate degree in studio art and art history from Indiana University at Bloomington in 1952. Following graduation, he enlisted in the United States Army and was stationed for a year in Germany, where he served in the Counter Intelligence Corps.
He later earned his master’s degree in political science from Wayne State University in Detroit and his doctorate in political science from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He served as a faculty member at Drake University in Des Moines and the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks before joining the Virginia Tech faculty in 1967. He taught political science until his retirement in 1994.
In Blacksburg, Herndon and his wife enjoyed living for 47 years in a home overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains that they designed and built themselves. They were members of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the New River Valley. In retirement, Herndon returned to painting and spent many happy hours in his studio.
Survivors include his son, David Herndon, and daughter-in-law, Cindy Kirsch; his granddaughters, Rachel Herndon and Meredith Herndon; his niece, Hilary (Joe Tesoriero) Beall; and many other relatives. He was predeceased by his wife of more than 67 years, Doris Arlene Beall Herndon, and his parents, Francis Earl Herndon and Mary Agnes Demmer Herndon.