Charles Chapman Herrman Jr., 66, minister, WMC sociology teacher

April 30, 2002|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

The Rev. Charles Chapman Herrman Jr., a Methodist minister who taught urban sociology at Western Maryland College for 20 years, died Saturday of melanoma at Belle Grade, his home in Pylesville. He was 66.

Born in Salem, N.J., the son of a DuPont Co. executive, Mr. Herrman was raised in Pennsville, N.J., and Pensacola, Fla., where he graduated from high school in 1954.

Mr. Herrman, who was called "Chap," earned bachelor's degrees in industrial engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1958, and divinity from Emory University in Atlanta in 1960. He earned a master's degree in 1969, and a doctorate in sociology and anthropology in 1970 from the University of Virginia.

Ordained a minister in the United Methodist Church, he held various positions, including serving as assistant chaplain at Emory University and chaplain of the University of Delaware.

He later was assistant pastor at Grace United Methodist Church in Wilmington, Del., pastor of Mariner's Bethel United Methodist Church in Ocean View, Del., and pastor of Shelemiah United Methodist Church in Cecil County until 1971.

He then became an assistant professor of sociology at Auburn University in Alabama, until 1974, when he joined the faculty of Western Maryland College.

"He was a very precise, organized man who set high standards and expected his students to adhere to them," said James E. Lightner, who taught mathematics at Western Maryland until his retirement in 1998. "He was a demanding teacher, but his students respected him. He had lots to say, and he shared it."

He recalled Mr. Herrman's office being open to receive students at all hours.

"He kept long office hours and was always there by 8 a.m., and never left before 5 p.m. When he had heart problems, he put a cot in his office so he could take a nap when he got tired and not have to go home," Mr. Lightner said.

Despite his technological background, Mr. Herrman refused to own or learn how to use a computer.

"We always kidded him about this. We wondered how with his precise mind that he insisted on continuing the use of pencil and paper. And he stuck to it. It just blew our minds," Mr. Lightner said.

Louise Pacquin, professor of biology at the college and a close friend, recalled that Mr. Herrman's popularity also extended to alumni who sought him out at college reunions and events.

"He was well-liked, and his classes always enjoyed a high enrollment. He commuted long hours from northern Harford County but never had to be cajoled to teach early-morning classes. He was very dedicated and had a strong work ethic," she said.

"His background was the ministry and he was respected for his wisdom," Dr. Pacquin continued. "He was very good at listening to students about their problems and difficulties. He was also the first to share in their joy and to comfort them during their tribulations."

At Belle Grade, his 1860 home and 35-acre farm, Mr. Herrman enjoyed entertaining friends and family with gourmet meals prepared in his kitchen.

"His students were the beneficiaries of his skill, experience, advice, sense of humor and learning," said Joyce Muller, associate vice president of communications and marketing at Western Maryland.

"The fruits of his farm harvest made their way into his kitchen and onto the dinner table for colleagues, who knew him as a private man with a deep, abiding concern for those around him," she said.

He enjoyed listening to classical music and attending the symphony. He also was an avid traveler and spent winters at a second home in Lake Panasoffkee, Fla.

He was an active member of Fawn Grove United Methodist Church, in Fawn Grove, Pa., where a memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Survivors include a brother, Daniel L. Herrman of New London, Pa.; three nephews; and his longtime friend, Glenn H. Arrants of Pylesville.

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