J.C. Herbert - A brief Biography
Herbert was respected by all
by YVONNE HOLMES MOTT
For The Ingersoll Times
(originally published July 14th, 1999)
With town flags flying at half mast, Ingersoll mourned the death last week of J.C. Herbert, one of its favourite and most respected citizens.
Herbert died in Alexandra Hospital Thursday night at the age of 91. He had suffered a stroke Monday.
Herbert was born and raised on a farm in Mitchell. He attended Waterloo College before he began teaching in Midland.
Since coming to Ingersoll to teach at the Ingersoll Collegiate Institute in 1932 he has been a driving force in the community. From 1940 to 1946 he was away from the high school while he served his country. Starting out with the Oxford Rifles, of which he was a very active member, he went with them to British Columbia, later transferred to the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders and served with them in Holland and Germany.
He returned to Ingersoll and was made principal of the High School. He taught history and mathematics and was Commanding Officer of the school's Cadet Corps #109. Herbert twice left Ingersoll temporarily for teaching stints at the Department of National Defence School in Germany, his first experience at teaching elementary school children. He loved to tell the story of meeting an Ingersoll resident by the name of Doug Palmer at the Hamer base there. The next year they became better acquainted on the ship on the way home to Canada.Six years later Herbert hired Palmer at the job fair in Toronto. They worked together for the years and when Palmer retired, became very good friends.
During Herbert's principalship, the new high school was built and the school officially became the Ingersoll District Collegiate Institute.
He was a strict disciplinarian, but always fair. Most of his students became his lifelong friends. Local and area ones visited him regularly. Out of town graduates corresponded with him from all over the world. Former students Lorne Moon and Bill Hawkins were among his closest friends. Hawkins recalled they started school on the same day: he was the student and J.C. his form teacher. Moon says there is so much one could say in his praise but "basically, he turned boys into men".
His retirement in 1968 simply gave him more time for community service. He was an active director of the YMCA as long as it existed here. He was a much loved member of the Kiwanis Club and was honoured a few years ago with its highest award. The Rotary Club of Ingersoll also presented him with its highest recognition, an award that his father also had received years ago.
He was a hard working and generous member of Branch 119 Royal Canadian Legion and was made a Life Member.
He was elected to Town Council in 1971, serving one term. He later ran for and was elected as a Public Utility Commissioner. Herbert became a living legend. The high school has a wing named after him and the new Town Centre committee room is named the J.C. Herbert room. He loved lawn bowling and bridge and participated in both for as long as possible. He also taught bridge to many people.
One of his most recent accomplishments was the formation of the Ingersoll Community Foundation. Treasurer Mark Warnick says the Foundation has granted more than $50,000 to people in need in and around Ingersoll since its inception four years ago. J.C. Herbert was one of its most generous benefactors.
He was a devoted member and elder of St. Paul's Presbyterian Church. During the Service of the Resurrection, held there Saturday at 2:00 p.m., Rev. Dr. Lonnie Atkinson preached a sermon on "The Gospel According to John, Christian". Dr. Atkinson touched on the many phases of Herbert's life and spoke of the strong faith he carried with him.
Herbert was predeceased by his wife Helen and survived by two sons, John and Martin, and two grandchildren.