Couple who gave more than $2M die within days of one another

Kiera Manion-Fischer

At 95, J. Arthur “Art” Herrick was still cutting down dead branches as part of his lifelong passion for the environment.

The emeritus professor of biological sciences and his wife Margaret, an emeritus professor of speech pathology, died within days of one another over the weekend. Margaret died early Friday morning and Art died Sunday morning. He had turned 100 on July 5.

As a couple, they made substantial contributions to the university.

Brian Thornton, manager of advancement communication, said the Herricks inspired the idea of long-term planned giving and were the first to give $1 million to the university.

“They really took the idea of philanthropy to the university to a whole new level,” he said.

They gave more than $2.4 million to the university, and a chair in plant conservation biology was endowed in their names.

Art’s son Glenn Herrick said Art even donated his home on Morris Road to Kent State when he and Margaret moved to Laurel Lake Retirement Community.

Art donated land in Portage County to Kent State and the Ohio chapter of the Nature Conservancy. The preserve, now 140 acres, is open to the public.

Also, the university named its planned giving organization the Herrick Society in the couple’s honor. A one-acre wetland study site, the Herrick Aquatic Ecology Research facility and the Herrick Conservatory Gardens and Arboretum are also named for them.

The Herricks endowed a research fund to support students who study at the research facility.

Thornton said the Herricks had a passion for the environment and conservation, and they also inspired several generations of students and teachers.

“You have professors on this campus who were his (Art’s) students,” he said.

Art started teaching at Kent State in 1937 and taught for 35 years before retiring in 1972. Margaret taught speech pathology and audiology and retired in 1982.

Glenn described his father as having “a very reserved personality” – a man who thought actions spoke louder than words.

“He was a photographer, a traveler and, most importantly, a gardener and a teacher,” he said.

Bonnie Andreani, emeritus professor in speech pathology, remembers Margaret as “soft-spoken” and “quite the lady.”

“She had a delicious sense of humor,” Andreani said.

Andreani said Margaret found true love at 62 when she married Art. That was the same year she retired from Kent State.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Friday at the Laurel Lake Retirement Community in Hudson. Another will be held when the semester starts at the United Church of Christ on East Main Street.

Contact news editor Kiera Manion-Fischer at [email protected].