Joseph Rupert Herndon was born in Sedalia, Missouri on October 11, 1926 to Janie M. (Berry) and Joseph L. Herndon. He attended school first in Sedalia and then in Smithton, which is where he met his wife of 69 years; Roma Maxine Klein. His parents moved him away from Smithton and his beloved Roma and it was then that Buddy decided to quit school and go to work so that he could earn money to court his girl in Smithton. Joe worked several factory and construction jobs while he waited for his girl to graduate high school. He married her in her parents’ home on August 26, 1944. On July 09, 1945, they were blessed with the birth of their daughter; Sandra Kay.
Joseph enlisted in the Air Force in April 1946 and was stationed in Japan until March of 1950. Upon his return, Joe and Roma bought a small farm in Florence. By 1957, Joe transformed the three room farmhouse into a respectable 1200 square foot mid-century home with running water and a flushing toilet. Joe and Roma raised sheep, pigs, rabbits, and Sandy on their farm until 1963. Joe was known for his beautiful tenor voice that would make the angels sigh and took pride in the fact that from 30 feet away, Roma could shoot a squirrel in the eye.
Joe became an electrician and eventually owned a successful electrical contracting business entitled Herndon Electric. In 1982, he sold his business and retired comfortably. Upon his retirement Joe devoted his time to researching his family’s genealogy. He successfully traced his lineage to the Norman invasion of England without the aid of the Internet. He also traveled extensively with Roma in their R.V. Joe and Roma joined the Good Sam Club in 1988 and participated in monthly camping trips throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Joe served as Wagon Master for his district for many years.
Joe was an active member of numerous community organizations. He was a member of the Granite Masonic Lodge, the Shriners, Scottish Rite, American Legion, V.F.W., and the Moose Lodge. He was also a committed member of the IBEW. Joe was devoted to the Georgetown Methodist Church. He had found solace and community with that church as a young child and continued to attend until his final days; often braving inclement weather and health issues.
Joseph Rupert Herndon passed quietly from this life on January 25, 2014 at Bothwell Regional Hospital. He was surrounded by his family. He is survived by his wife Roma Herndon, his daughter Sandra Becker, and grandchildren Trey, Samantha, and Dawn Becker. His great-grandchildren Kaycee Olejniczak, Brook Becker, Killian McClelland, Clyde Hutchison, Amelia Hutchison, and his great-great grandson Trey Eggleston. And of course, a host of family and friends.
Services will be held at Rea Funeral Chapel on Wednesday, January 29, 2014. The family will receives guests at 10 a.m. and a memorial service will begin at 11:00 a.m. A private family burial will take place at a later date. The family requests that in lieu of flowers that a donation to Shriners International be made in Joe’s honor, in care of the funeral chapel.