Barbara Jane Herring, 95, of Lincroft, passed away on June 22, 2020 at Riverview Medical Center. Barbara was born in Akron, OH to Kenneth and Almeda (Henry) Luther.
Barbara, who became known as “Nannie Barb” over time to all family and friends, was an independent, fun loving woman who cherished any and all time spent with her family. Nannie Barb grew up in a difficult time that influenced her attitude, generosity, and values in a positive way. Her “always a kid at heart” approach to life, was never more evident with her extensive doll collection, her love of the color purple, and the often well documented shenanigans at events and parties. Nannie Barb will be deeply missed by all those that have come to know her through the years.
She was predeceased by her parents, brother Kenneth Luther, Jr., son Albert Mace and by her beloved husband of 39 years, Donald J. Herring.
Barbara is survived by her loving children; Kent Herring and daughter-in-law, Valerie Herring, of Lincroft and Donette Herring Fitzpatrick and son-in-law, Joseph Fitzpatrick of Greenville, NC, grandchildren Kyle Herring, Courtney Huhn and husband John Huhn, Lauren Van Exter, Philip Van Exter and wife Ali Van Exter and great-grandchild Landon Van Exter. Barbara will also be forever remembered by her extended family, the Schuchert’s, Van Exter’s and Fitzpatrick’s, and dear friends.
The family wishes to send a special thank you to the staff and clinical teams at Halcyon Elder Care, The Atrium at Navesink Harbor and Riverview Medical Center for their care and compassion.
Services will be held privately. Memorial donations may be made to The Lunch Break of Red Bank, https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/lunchbreak
Memories and condolences may be shared at www.braunfuneralhome.com.
Eulogy for Barbara Jean Herring:
Barbara J Herring Eulogy
Thank you for coming to pay your respects to Barbara, aka Nannie Barb, and to celebrate her life.
Barbara was an ambitious woman. She loved her job at Western Union in Akron Ohio and was excited to start a similar job in NJ where she had relocated to marry our father Donald Herring, her brother Kenneth’s business partner. She soon realized that she would need to make a choice. Our father Don was a proud man and believed it was up to him to provide for his family. Mom chose love over career but she never gave up on her ambition.
Over the next 11 years we were born keeping mom very busy on the home front. She had us involved in girl/boy scouts, organized sports - softball, baseball, basketball – not as many options or as competitive as when we were young, Donette – dance, Kent –judo, and playing musical instruments. It was our mother who initiated and encouraged these activities and made sure we were properly equipped, had transportation and were never late. Dad was a supporter too, but there is no question that mom was the driver.
Mom, and Dad, valued learning and academics. We were among the children at school with perfect attendance. They made sure our homework was always done. And mom would go the extra mile even helping to type reports and papers. I/Donette can remember many a night sitting at the kitchen table finishing a report with mom at the manual typewriter with a bottle of white-out. She was an ace at the typewriter from working all those years at Western Union. Mom recommended that I take a typing class in high school so I could type my own papers in college. How fortuitous with the technology age about to unfold. Who knew then that in the future typing skills would be more valuable than penmanship! Good grades were expected so we never wanted to see our parents disappointed and did our best at school.
Mom also taught us to be resilient and self-reliant. This started at an early age when she shipped us off to school when we said we weren’t feeling well telling us that if we were really sick the school nurse would call her to come pick us up. The days we really weren’t feeling well we somehow learned how to tough it out, with one notable exception. When Kent/I was in 3rd grade, I went to school, then to the nurse, then home, then to the doctors where I was then diagnosed with bronchial pneumonia and subsequently missed the next week of school. Little did she know the skill she taught us during childhood would be one that I/Donette used with her when she had her hip replaced at age 88. When Nannie didn’t feel that she could tolerate therapy and get up and around the house, I used her psychology to help her get back on her feet. You could say that we respected each other’s tough love.
Barbara was also adventurous. If our father had been willing to fly we can’t imagine all of the exploring they would have done. Our dad experienced air sickness as an air force recruit and although he had a love for aeronautics he wasn’t willing to give the pressurized cabins of commercial aircraft a try. Mom and dad loved road trips in their camper van – together and as a family. Dad was the pilot and mom the co-pilot always ready for the next trip and taking in all of the sites and attractions. Mom was more interested in the adventure and never complained about sleeping in the van or not having a hair dryer or make up mirror. Mom was low maintenance. She was wash and go – we had fun.
Later in their marriage Barbara took trips without our dad. We think he acknowledged her spirit of adventure and supported her traveling on organized trips without him. She traveled both domestically and internationally. We can’t remember all of the countries she has travelled to however they included Germany, Austria, England, Ireland, France and Israel.
She actually convinced me/Donette to join her on a trip to the Soviet Union right after the Cold War in 1990. This is a trip that I will never forget. Other than not wanting to surrender her passport to get a hotel room, mom was probably more resilient than I. She brushed it off when our luggage arrived at the hotel the first night after it clearly had been ransacked and when there was no water for a shower the first day, and off/on after that – even in the supposed four/five star hotels. We laughed at the sliver of soap in the bathroom and hand size bath towel. She had an attitude of let’s go and experience the culture and the country – we’re going to have to accept the living conditions.
We teamed up with four other ladies on the trip and ventured out of the hotel on our own during ‘free time.’ Keep in mind there were no street signs, no maps and this was pre-GPS. We rode the famous subway system in Moscow to Red Square and walked through the department store ‘GUM.’ We were approached by a young man Nicholai who was interested in improving his English so he became our guide when we weren’t participating in planned tour activity. Disappointed that the Bolshoi ballet wasn’t on our itinerary, the six ladies gave Nicholai money to buy our tickets and one for him. Mom had no hesitation in doing so or entering the theater two nights later with a ticket that was a torn piece of paper with a stamp on it! I’m not sure about mom, but my heart was beating pretty fast not knowing if we would be arrested for bootleg tickets. As it turned out the ballet was fabulous from our 10th row orchestra seats! The adventure didn’t stop there and included a visit to Soviet style ‘fast food’ that felt like we were in a time warp to a 1930’s soup kitchen. As we passed through the self-service line they checked us out with an abacus. Without hesitation, we all sampled the food – it was lousy.
In the last 10 years or so, she joined our brother Al, and then after Al’s passing, his Navy buddies and their spouses for the annual Bang submarine reunion held in home cities of the proud veterans. She attended reunions in Detroit and Chattanooga in the last three years. Al’s buddies were so kind to her, making her feel welcome and making sure she had a good time.
Mom would also create adventures for us as kids. Over the summer she would take as many neighborhood kids that could fit in her car to the boardwalk at Long Branch and Asbury Park. Maximum capacity in the Olds 98 was 13 children plus mom. The bench seats and no seat belts created the capacity we needed. We loved to play the 5 cent candy wheel in Long Branch, the clown water balloon game, skee-ball and miniature golf. Mom loved to ride the roller coaster and would get in the front seat, with Kent, and hold her arms in the air on the ride down the steepest hills and around the sharpest curves. She also loved the carrousel and tried to catch the golden ring. Mom was a participant as much as she was a chaperon and parent on those adventures.
It was no surprise then that with mom’s love of adventure and love of life that she purchased ‘Peaches’ a bright orange turbo convertible VW Beetle when she turned 80. She loved driving that car and would tell us about the waves and thumbs up she would get from passersby. Although not a ‘flower child’ she did have an artificial flower in the dashboard vase. Mom inherited superstitions from her mother that we would hear about growing up. One of the superstitions was that red cars were bad luck. We wondered if mom got the color wrong because she was in a number of accidents – none her fault – in the first five years after buying ’Peaches’. Mom, don’t worry, we will never buy a red or orange car. We also won’t open an umbrella in the house or put a hat on the bed. And, we must always have pork and sauerkraut for New Year’s Day. However, with our schedules, we can’t guarantee that we won’t vacuum after dark. And we have.
Mom was always ready to shop and was always looking for a bargain. We’ve all got to experience some of the great bargains she has found and not so great bargains. We are grateful there were no Dollar Stores growing up!! Mom’s shopping adventures have changed over the years. She loved going to the Collingswood Auction, the annual Eagles Eye sale in Conshohocken, Granny’s Attic, the Waterloo Garden Christmas sale, and Lord & Taylor to take advantage of Betty Lou’s discount, to name a few.
Mom and dad also taught us the value of hard work and to be self-sufficient even though mom did our laundry and made our beds until we went to college. Mom connected with neighbors to get us baby-sitting jobs. As soon as we could we were required to get part-time jobs. Mom would always drive us to our jobs until we could drive ourselves. We’re not sure whether it was mom’s influence or not that my/Donette’s second part-time job, and Kent’s first part-time job, was at McDonald’s in Shrewsbury knowing her love of their nutritious food! I’m also not sure if it was the nurse’s outfit and medical kit that she bought me when I was four or her desire for me to be a nurse that led to me pursuing an undergraduate degree in nursing. Either way, mom was a strong influence. For Mom and Dad, both high school graduates, it was never a question that Kent and I would both go to college. They were very proud parents when we graduated from high school and even prouder when we graduated from college and started our careers.
Mom and dad showed us what it meant to love and be loved. When dad arrived home promptly at 6 pm every night they would smooch and hug in the kitchen as mom made the final dinner preparations. There was never a doubt of how much they were in love. Mom and dad also showed us love and were always there for us. Mom was more of a cuddler than dad and could hug you so hard it hurt. She also was pretty adept with the yardstick when you didn’t behave! Mom had a way of giving you very direct feedback but praise at the same time to give you confidence and make you feel good about yourself, even until very recently. I/Donette laughed pretty hard when during a FaceTime call in the last month she let me know that my hair didn’t look good one day – thanks mom! I could give it right back to her too - like how good she looked in her favorite gray sweat pants! J
Everyone knows mom’s love for dolls that has been a lifetime passion. She was fortunate growing up during the depression to have had dolls to play with. Her mother, Almeda, was also a doll collector although she never amassed a collection like Nannie Barb. Mom didn’t discriminate – all dolls were welcome to become part of her collection and she loved them all the same. Let us tell you a few stories about how much mom loved her dolls.
One of mom’s overseas trips without dad was a doll tour of Europe. During the 2+week trip, mom visited doll factories and museums as well as historic sites. Our dad received packages from our mother and put them aside assuming they were dolls she had purchased. Little did he know that most of the shipments were her dirty clothes – she chose to keep the dolls with her.
As a kid, mom enjoyed going to Mike’s toy store in Little Silver as much as we did. It was not uncommon for her to purchase a Madame Alexander doll for herself with her ‘hold out’ money. You see mom and dad were depression era kids so we were a ‘cash only’ family. The Madame Alexander dolls from the 1960’s and 1970’s are all on display at 43 Shelbern Drive including Jackie O and Caroline Kennedy.
On one of her trips to PA for a Fitzpatrick wedding she had me/Donette take her to Kmart to buy gold shoes to wear because she didn’t want to spend more than $20. She was saving her money to buy a very expensive doll, which she did the following week.
She also loved to share her doll collection with others. She has done tours for girl scout troops and anyone interested in learning about doll history. After my father passed away and she had her security system installed, we were out to dinner and when we came home she didn’t hit the right buttons on the key pad. I/Donette was on the phone with Joe when the security monitoring company called so the police were dispatched. The police came barreling in the house thinking we were intruders and when they realized that we weren’t stayed for a doll tour.
Mom never stopped being a mom and never hesitated directing you what to do regardless of your age. Our dad used to refer to mom as ‘crew chief’ if that gives you any idea of how she liked to be in charge. She was mom to everyone and sometimes was Joe’s second wife because she took care of his laundry and dry cleaning, and made sure he had breakfast when he stayed at her house when in the area for work.
Mom’s love for fine food and beverage is widely known. We discovered this love at a young age which as you all know, she expanded and refined over time.
Growing up we dined on mom’s international cooking that included spaghetti and meatballs, chili, chicken chow mein, and beef stew with dumplings. Friday nights were special with a range of seafood - cold shrimp, frozen flounder, fish sticks or tuna. Summers were the best. We remember going to Laurino’s with mom to get silver queen sweet corn and Jersey tomatoes - this was when Delicious Orchards was strictly apples and cider. Dad’s vegetables from the garden were a great add to any meal and also delicious! And, who could forget mom’s home brewed sweet tea – we are glad we were outside children during the summer so we could burn off all of the sugar.
Mom was pretty easy going with food. Either you ate what she put on the table or you didn’t. There was no special food preparation based on preferences. She also didn’t mind if you ate donuts, merry go rounds, pop tarts or left-overs from dinner the night before for breakfast before going to school. She made a great peanut butter and jelly sandwich, better than our dad. I/Donette nearly starved when mom was in the hospital delivering Kent because I couldn’t eat the sandwiches dad made for me to take to school (he put butter on everything).
Mom has always enjoyed the ‘M’ food group - McDonalds, Manhattans, Milkshakes, Meatballs (Eric’s are her favorite) and of course Mountain Dew. Interestingly enough, she found many options for Mountain Dew – not only a beverage to quench thirst, but as a drink mixer (w/ apple jack whiskey) and as a remedy for indigestion.
Later in life she became known as the carbohydrate Queen with her love of bread and jelly donuts. We often remind the less experienced dinner guests to keep their hands and feet away from the breadbasket in Nannie Barb’s presence for concern they might get bitten. When she would visit Joe and I/Donette she would be sure to tell us not to serve her anything green. That is, other than Mountain Dew. Joe will sure miss those orange and green chewy candy slices that are shaped to look like fruit. :-)
We all know Nannie Barb’s hearing was challenged as she aged (and you know she didn’t want hearing aids because she said it made her look old) but we also found her vision for acceptable items to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner blurred as well. We all have had breakfast for dinner or at least heard the expression. For example, pancakes for dinner, Right? In the case of Nannie Barb, she took that to another level. She found it perfectly acceptable to have a hot fudge Sunday, banana split or Jim Dandy as the main course for either breakfast, lunch or dinner. We think she was the author of that catchy slogan “yes children, dessert can be meal”.
Mom and dad are known for their generosity. Mom has carried on with this generosity since dad’s passing. As most of you know, mom was a better giver than receiver and supported many causes. Mom, a few of the organization’s that ‘thank you’ for your generosity over the years are:
-The smile train (cleft lip repair for children)
-The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
-The Humane Society
-Wounded Warriors Project
-Habitat for Humanity
-Toys for Tots
-March of Dimes
-Lincroft First Aide
-Lincroft Fire Company
-Christian Appalachian Fund
-Foundation of the Blind (funny….. no donations to deaf or hearing-impaired foundations)
Mom loved the holidays – any holiday for that matter but especially Thanksgiving and Christmas. Growing up, she and dad would host Thanksgiving every year for the immediate family. Mom loved playing Santa and, from the pictures you can see, was very engaged with us on Christmas morning. In her super senior years, she has enjoyed celebrating Christmas with our extended Schuchert, Van Exter and Fitzpatrick families never missing a dinner or family gathering and always bearing gifts.
She was always ready to play games at the family gatherings. She religiously came to every event with her $1 bills to play a cutthroat game of LCR / left right center or the high-stakes card game called 31. The games did not end there, often they moved onto games like catch phrase, Pictionary or ???….boy those nannies can say the darndest things during the excitement of game time.
As a kid herself, mom used to tell her friends and classmates they could have off school for her birthday that was really the Memorial Day holiday! Whether Memorial Day is May 30th in any year, we’ll always think of you, mom, on your real birthday of May 30th and Memorial Day.
Mom, we’ll miss receiving a card in the mail for every holiday and birthday! Never fail, every year Mom would mail cards for Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas in addition to Birthdays and Anniversaries. We’ll have to look at cards from prior years that we have saved as a backup.
Mom, from the bottom of our hearts, we (Kent and Donette) thank you and dad for being great parents, grandparents, role models, and creating a wonderful life for us!! We are eternally grateful!! You are loved and will be remembered by everyone who you touched. Until we meet again.
Your loving children,
Kent and Donette
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