Thousands of Hoosiers have died since the coronavirus pandemic began in March 2020 and we know — they're more than just numbers. If you've lost a loved one to COVID-19 and want to share their story reach out to us at FacesOfCovid@wrtv.com.
FARMLAND — Jerry Herndon loved to play bluegrass music. He played the guitar and would often invite friends over to play tunes in his garage.
“They would have little get-togethers,” said Loretta Perry, Herndon’s daughter.
The music, one of many interests Herndon shared with his wife Bernice. The two married young. Bernice was only 17-years-old.
Bernice and Jerry shared 52-years happily married. “Her and dad did everything together, they went camping together,” said Perry, one of the couple’s three daughters in their tight-knit family.
Herndon retired from INDOT in 2009, he was also a past member of the Farmland Volunteer Fire Department in the small Randolph County community east of Muncie.
Herndon also worked for Vores Racing for many years. In September of last year, he and his wife took a work trip to Tennessee. When they returned to their home town of Farmland, the couple had contracted COVID-19. Bernice recovered, but Jerry was hospitalized.
"He was very healthy, he didn't have other health issues or anything, so that's why we were kind of shocked,” said Perry.
For 23 days, Herndon stayed in the hospital. Each day one family member could come in and see him for a short amount of time. "We'd wave at him through the window and he would give us a thumbs up,” said Perry.
The 74-year-old was eventually told he needed a ventilator. "I think he knew he wasn't going to come out of it. He had sent a couple of texts out just telling everybody how much he loved them. That was hard to read,” said Perry.
Days later, the family said goodbye. Jerry Herndon passed away from COVID-19 on October 19th of 2020. His family taking comfort in happy memories.
"He just left an impact on a lot of people, he really did,” said Perry.
If you have lost someone to COVID-19 and want to share their story please email WRTV at FacesOfCOVID@wrtv.com.