Jon Herr, a small-business owner who made a big difference in many lives as a foster parent for more than 120 children, died April 6 of lung cancer, his family said. He was 60.
A longtime Woodland resident, Mr. Herr was active in the community as a tradesman and family man. Since 1980, he fabricated and resurfaced fiberglass components for crop-dusters, aerial lift buckets, recreational vehicles and other industrial uses at his company, Professional Fiberglass Repair. He employed as many as five workers at his shop in Knights Landing and did custom work for major clients, including utility companies, government agencies and agricultural pilots.
After working up to 14 hours a day, he went home to a house full of youngsters and special needs. With his wife of 37 years, Mary Beth, he provided foster care to more than 120 children – from infants to teenagers – over 20 years, his family said. Although some stayed overnight, others lived in the family’s four-bedroom, two-bath house for weeks or months – and three were adopted by the Herrs.
Besides assigning chores, Mr. Herr made time for family activities, including reading, going to a park or playing in the backyard. A devout Christian, he led his family in reading from the Bible and attending services at First Covenant Church of Sacramento in Rancho Cordova.
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Weekends were spent watching movies at home.
“He was always making huge bowls of popcorn when we watched movies,” said his daughter Shannon, 25, who joined the family as a baby and was adopted by the Herrs. “He was a very caring guy – one of those people who would sacrifice everything for his family.”
Jonathan Lee Herr was born June 21, 1953, in Redondo Beach. He moved at an early age with his family to Knights Landing, where his father, Charles opened a shop and refinished aircraft parts. He graduated from Woodland High School in 1971.
Mr. Herr was active in Gideons International and donated money to many groups, including Woodland Little League, the National Rifle Association and the Wounded Warrior Project.
“He just believed that he could make a difference, and being a foster parent was one way he could do that,” his wife said.
In addition to his wife and daughter Shannon, Mr. Herr is survived by four other daughters, Christina, Laura Patton, Annabelle Lewis and Amber; three sons, Timothy, Jonathan II and Daniel; his mother, Anna Mae; two brothers, Paul and David; a sister, Annette Lozancich; and nine grandchildren.
A service was held April 12 at First Covenant Church of Sacramento.