Bob L. Herd, a Tyler businessman whose philanthropic causes included education, faith and health care, died Friday.
Herd, 91, along with his wife, Pat, began the Bob L. Herd Foundation in 1994.
The foundation made possible the Herd Worship Center at Marvin United Methodist Church, the Pat Herd Women’s Center at Christus Trinity Mother Frances Hospital and the Herd Family Intensive Care Center at UT Health East Texas.
After Michael Herd, the Herds’ grandson, was treated at UT Health Tyler’s Level 1 trauma center and ICU for injuries suffered in an accident in March 2017, the Herds donated funds to create two new waiting rooms for intensive care patient families to find respite and solace.
“He was incredibly kind and generous in his support of UT Health East Texas, and he freely expressed his appreciation for our caregivers,” said Moody Chisholm, president and CEO of UT Health East Texas. “Bob Herd leaves a lasting legacy for health care in East Texas.”
During the dedication ceremony in 2018, Michael Herd thanked neurosurgeon Dr. Paul Detwiler and other members of the care team for saving his life. The Herd Family Intensive Care Center encompasses areas on the second and third floors of UT Health Tyler adjacent to the intensive care “circle” units.
The large waiting rooms have sunlight and calming colors for a healing environment, according to hospital officials. The rooms also have access to free coffee, Wi-Fi and phone charging stations. There are also private consultation rooms for families to meet with health professionals.
The two family intensive care waiting areas were formally dedicated on Feb. 28 last year. Marty Wiggins, former director of the East Texas Medical Center Foundation, called the dedication an example of gratitude having a rippling effect. ETMC was the predecessor to UT Health.
“It’s the best of philanthropy,” Wiggins said, “as one family’s experience of grace leads them to help countless others during times of medical crisis.”
The foundation also has given scholarships to the University of Texas at Tyler, Tyler Junior College and Texas Tech, according to his obituary.
In 2008, the Bob L. Herd Department of Petroleum Engineering was named part of the Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering at Texas Tech, establishing one of the largest petroleum engineering departments in the country, according to the obituary.
He grew up in the Scyene area of Dallas and and was a 1946 Mesquite High School graduate. He served in the U.S. Air Force and became a staff sergeant. He then earned a petroleum engineering degree at Texas Tech University.
He and his wife moved to Tyler in 1965 with their daughters, Kelli and Staci, to start Herd Producing Co. Inc. Before coming to Tyler, he began his career at Lone Star Gas in Athens.
Within two years, he hit eight of nine wells, which boosted his career greatly. He owned and operated hundreds of oil and gas wells throughout Louisiana and Texas.
Herd was awarded the Society of Petroleum Engineers 1993 Pioneer Award, the 1994 Texas Tech Distinguished Alumni Award and the Texas Tech Distinguished Engineer Award in 1995.
In addition to finding natural gas, Herd also had a passion for golf. Willow Brook Country Club in Tyler was his favorite golf course. He was president there in 1980 and 2009, according to his obituary.
Herd frequently flew his buddies to California or Hawaii for a weekend of golf. He was known for his quick wit, dry humor and generous spirit, the obituary stated.
Herd is preceded in death by his parents, Marion and Mary Frances Herd, brothers John, Marvin and Buddy, wife Pat and daughter Staci. He is survived by his brother David; his sons Rod, Jeff and Greg; and his daughter Kelli; seven grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.
Visitation is scheduled from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday at Stewart Family Funeral Home in Tyler. A memorial service is set for 11 a.m. Tuesday at Marvin United Methodist Church sanctuary in Tyler with Dr. Doug Baker officiating.