Quintus H. Herron, 91, passed away quietly on June 24, 2014.
Quintus was born in McCurtain County, Oklahoma, on May 24, 1923, to Leonard G. and May Herndon Herron. He spent his later childhood and teen years in Stillwater, Okla., and later attended Oklahoma A&M (OSU).
It was in Stillwater that Quintus first met his beloved wife Mary Hinkel, and where he returned after serving in the Army Air Corp. They were married in 1946 and enjoyed 61 years together in Idabel, Okla.
He leaves to cherish his memory, his son and daughter-in-law, Donald and Mary Etta Herron of Idabel, daughter and son-in-law, Jan Herron and Gama Leyva of Patagonia, Ariz. His loving grandchildren include Pete Herron and wife Katie, Suzannah Herron, Julia Herron, Catherine Herron Clowers and husband Wesley, Cole and Logan Chapman, and Alyssa Leyva. He was the proud great-grandfather of Kassidy, Kaylee and Kaidon Clowers, and most recently Asher James Herron.
Quintus, throughout his 70-year career, has contributed a great deal to forest agriculture and to the heritage of Oklahoma, and his legacy continues. In 1944, he, his father Leonard G. and his brother Joseph, started Herron Industries. Prior to its inception, no one had planted and grown trees for crops in this region, but over decades of dedication, Quintus and his family grew the venture to be one of the most productive in the South and a long term economic contributor for McCurtain County. Herron Industries showed small landowners that old farm land could produce a valuable crop for this area. Additionally, he and his brother Joseph built several sawmills and a retail lumber yard to meet the growing demand for lumber. In recognition of his lifelong work in Oklahoma forestry, Quintus received many awards, including 1999 Co-Citizen of the Year (with Mary Herron) from the Idabel Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture, 2001 Governor’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Agriculture, 2002 Distinguished Agriculture Alumnus from Oklahoma State University and 2013 Lifetime Service Award from the Forest Heritage Center.
Quintus’ work in agriculture and forestry did not end with his own businesses. He co-founded the Forest Heritage Center Museum and chaired its advisory board for 25 years. His leadership spurred the growth of this popular museum, located in Beaver’s Bend State Park, and inspired the creation of an exciting new mascot named Tree Bear. Tree Bear’s mission was to spread the word that “Good Things Come From Trees!” and to inform consumers of the 10,000-plus uses for trees in our everyday lives.
Quintus’ personal philanthropy is well-known throughout the area. After extensive traveling and collecting, Quintus and Mary felt that people in McCurtain County would benefit from a place to explore other cultures and to learn about their own history in Oklahoma. In 1974, they founded The Museum of the Red River, now well-known cultural attraction in southeast Oklahoma. It is nationally recognized as having one of the finest collections of pre-Columbian Indian art and artifacts, and continues to be a place of learning. In addition to the private Herron Foundation, he and his son Donald have developed The McCurtain Community Fund to support charitable and educational projects in McCurtain County. In honor of Quintus and Mary’s works in the arts, they received many awards, including 1990 Distinguished Historians Award from McCurtain County Historical Society, 2003 Governor’s Arts Award from the Oklahoma Arts Council, 2006 “100 Top Art Collectors who can make a difference” from Arts and Antiques Magazine, 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award from Antique Tribal Art Dealers Association and 2009 Oklahoma Historians Hall of Fame from the Oklahoma Historical Society.
Quintus will be greatly missed by his family, friends and many associates. In his spare time, he enjoyed a lifelong love of fishing, watching professional and Oklahoma State sports, and most recently, an adopted cat, “Kayut.” He was cared for in his last years by his loving daughter-in-law Mary, and was visited regularly by his children, grandchildren and his many great friends. A celebration of life will be held on July 26 at the Mary H. Herron Community Conference Center and donations in his memory may be made to the Museum of the Red River, 812 SE Lincoln Road, Idabel, OK, 74745 or call (580) 286-3616.
Arrangements are with White Family Funeral Home, www.whitefamilyfh.com in Idabel, Oklahoma.
Quintus H. Herron, 91, passed away quietly on June 24, 2014.
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