In Memory

Kathy Herndon

Kathy Ann Herndon was born June 28, 1951 and died April 7, 2012.

Kathy was one of the most interesting and enjoyable people I have ever had the privilege to know.  She was my sister in law for 6 short years.  And I say “know” lightly.  As I have sorted through her personal belongings I have discovered many aspects of Kathy’s life that bring to light what an amazing woman she was.  First and foremost Kathy was a family person.  She was the oldest of 4 and took to this role naturally.  She was a born leader and from a very early age displayed an adventurous and fearless spirit.

As a teenager Kathy bought her own horse (without consulting her parents) and worked as a seamstress for a costume shop in San Marco.  After graduating from Englewood in 1969 she worked as a secretary for the head of JEA while taking classes at FJC. 

Kathy graduated from UF in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science Zoology with a minor in Chemistry.

She worked as a teaching assistant with freshmen lab and biology students at Texas A & M while earning her Master of Science Biology with emphasis on ecology and marine biology and graduated in 1981.

The next year Kathy joined the U. S. Peach Corp for 2 years as a Science and English teacher in Zaire, Central Africa.  She was also fluent in French.

Kathy moved to Alaska in 1985 and worked as a Fisheries Technician for the U. S. National Marine Fisheries Service in a remote, research-oriented hatchery and then on to Ketchikan for more of the same and to supervise, recruit and train a crew in the commercial fishing industry.  It was during these 7 years in the hatcheries that she enjoyed seasonal work and spent her time off each year traveling the world. 

These are a few of Kathy’s travel destinations.

She circumnavigated the entire continent of Australia on a bicycle, using public bus for longer distances, hiked the Himalayans from Nepal into China, explored the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador, and traveled the dessert of Madagascar off the coast of South Africa.  She bought a sailboat in Seattle and sailed it to Ketchikan with her cat and lived on it while working there.  She went diving in Grand Cayman and especially LOVED Costa Rica.  She also traveled to Turkey, Greece, and all over the U. S.

In 1993 Kathy taught and tutored students in grades 9-12 at a progressive boarding school in Sitka, Alaska.  She began her public high school teaching career in Bethel, Alaska in 1994 where she also received her teaching certificate from the University of Alaska.  She taught Biology until her early retirement in 2010. 

She said on her teaching application when asked to finish the following sentence, I would like to be known as an educator who…”convinces students that education has intrinsic value and instills in them the desire to continue learning.”  Kathy spent her entire life learning, teaching, giving, and playing to the very end of her short 60 years.

Throughout her life she continually found her way home to be with her family and to include them in her travels as often as they would go.  At the end of her life Kathy returned to Jacksonville to care for her mother. 

The last 1 ½ years of her life as she was being treated for colon cancer she continued to live life to the fullest traveling locally, bought a boat, camper, truck, kayak, and an Australian Cattle dog that she rescued and trained in agility and sheep herding. 

According to her family and friends Kathy was kind, humble, fearless, funny, adventurous, and a practical joker, just to name a few.