JAMES MICHAEL "MIKE" HERRINGTON, 75, a long-time
educator, was born Nov. 17, 1941 in Ranger, TX, the
firstborn of Doris Rice (RHS-1937) & Phelton Herrington.
He died on March 6, 2017 at his home in Fort Worth, TX
with burial at Evergreen Cemetery in Ranger.
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 side of his mother. Mike
graduated from Ranger High School in the Class of 1960 at
Ranger, TX. Having begun his college education at Ranger
Jr. 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 Jr. 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,
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 & 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-grand-
children: Sadie, William, Anthony, Elizabeth, and Sofia.
Also survived by his brother Eddie Ray Herrington & his
wife Sylvia (RHS-1968) of Irving. He is preceded in death
by his parents, a sister Meekie Herrington King (RHS-1971),
and a brother Ernie Joe Herrington.