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Johnnie HerringtonJohnnie Herrington, a 1940 graduate of SHSU, has both business and civic success. He credits his late mother, Callie Herrington, and his wife, Marge, with his accomplishments. He says his late mother (widowed with seven small children and a farm to run) instilled in him as a young man in Brushy Creek that "Each of us can make a difference and each of us has an obligation to do so." Of Marge, he says, "She has supported, encouraged and inspired me every step of the way. We are not only husband and wife, we are partners and best friends." He also derives pride and inspiration from their three children, Alan, Ann, Bob, and seven grandchildren.

Johnnie came to SHSU in 1938 after working his way through Lon Morris Junior College painting campus buildings; he paid for his education by working at a service station, driving a taxi-cab and securing a loan through the SHSTC Ex-Students' Loan Fund. He taught school for the 1939-40 term and resumed to Sam Houston that summer to receive his BS in Social Science.

Following service in World War II with the 530th Fighter Squadron in the China-Burma-India Theater of Operations, Captain Herrington returned to his home county in 1946 and established his real estate and insurance business. Through hard work, the acquisition of six other agencies, and the addition of life insurance and investments, the business has grown. Today, Johnnie, his wife, son Bob (1979 SHSU graduate) and son-in law John Mottern, manage a solid and growing professional staff of specialists. In 1957, he was one of the first property and casualty agents to be appointed as a "Career Agent" with Southwestern Life Insurance Company. Other honors include President's Club, Top Club, Million Dollar Club, Texas Leaders Round Table, National Quality Awa rd and National Sales Achievement Award.

Despite the demands of his chosen profession, Johnnie has found time to work in his community of Palestine; he has served as president of Chamber of Commerce, Industrial Foundation, YMCA (3-terms-awarded Service to Youth Award), Anderson County Chapter of the American Red Cross, Citizens Forum, Booster Club, Parents Club and Day Care. In addition to serving on the boards of numerous other civic organizations, Johnnie has served on the Official Board and various committees of the First United Methodist Church and as a member of the Methodist Texas Conference Board of Social Concerns. He helped steer the building of Lake Palestine and was instrumental in bringing the National Scientific Balloon Facility and Lakeview Methodist Assembly to Anderson County and the Area Vocational School to Palestine. To this day, he is a tireless promoter of his community and one of the first persons called upon when Palestine citizens want to tackle an important project.

His desire to make a difference has extended into political and governmental affairs as exemplified by his serving two terms as Mayor of Palestine from 1959 to 1963. He served on the Texas Municipal League Administration and Personnel Committee, as ch airman of the Texas State Railroad Board and as a member of the Texas Democratic Executive Committee. Reflecting on his political involvement, Johnnie says, "It disturbs me when people say they don't want anything to do with politics---that's like the drowning man who says he doesn't want anything to do with water."

Johnnie was elected to the SHSU Alumni Association Board in 1974 and he served as Treasurer, Vice President, and President (1981). As Chairman of the Alumni Operations Study Committee in 1978, he guided important changes in the structure and function of the Alumni Association and its service to the University and former students. He organized the 182-member Anderson County Chapter and has been a Century Club member since 1974.

As profiled at October 30, 1992 Distinguished Alumni Banquet

 

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