Dr. Emery C. Herman, Jr., 92
July 24, 1929 – February 26, 2022
COOPERSTOWN – Long time Cooperstown, N.Y. resident Dr. Emery Cline Herman, Jr. died peacefully at home with his wife by his side on Saturday morning, February 26, 2022 at the age of 92.
Born July 24, 1929 in La Grange, Georgia, Emery was the eldest of three children born to Emily Park Herman and E.C. Herman, MD. He was a graduate of Darlington School, Emory University and The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (class of 1953).
While at Hopkins, he met Margaret (Peggy) Whitaker of Springfield, Ohio, and they married in 1955. After a stint at the National Institutes of Health, in 1959 Emery took a position at Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital and moved his young family to Cooperstown. He began work as a research physician with Dr. Don Thomas and Dr. Joe Ferrebee in the field of bone marrow transplantation. He soon transferred to clinical medicine at Bassett, where he spent his entire medical career as a practicing physician in internal medicine, retiring in 1994. In addition to hospital commitments, Emery was actively involved in the greater Cooperstown community, serving on the Village Board of Trustees and as Cooperstown Mayor in 1970-72. Emery and Peggy raised five children together in Cooperstown until her untimely death in 1975.
In 1978, Emery married Nancy Frazier Freehafer. Theirs was a 44 year marriage that included travel, volunteering, parenting and grandparenting, lots of yard work, classical music appreciation and ongoing learning — especially with the beloved German group (DVL). In early retirement, Emery became involved with the Catskill Symphony Orchestra (Treasurer) and the Executive Service Corps. Habitat for Humanity of Otsego County became his most cherished volunteer effort. Throughout his nearly 30 years of retirement, Emery served in almost every capacity in this organization, participating in the construction of 27 homes in Otsego County, and in 2003, a Jimmy Carter Work Project in his hometown of La Grange, Georgia. Emery believed strongly in a life of service, volunteerism, and charitable giving and directed his time and resources to causes and institutions both local and national. A recent focus was the Friends Committee on National Legislation.
An avid racquet sports enthusiast, Emery had a lifelong passion for tennis and played ping pong into his 90s. In the mid-1970s, he built two tennis courts on his property, and enjoyed playing on them and seeing them used by family, friends and the local community. Not a regular practitioner of any organized religion, he gave the name “Sunday Services” to the group who would join him for doubles matches Sunday mornings during the tennis season, a tradition that lasted many decades. He was known as much for his lively banter and questionable calls as he was for his superior racquet skills.
Emery was cared for at home since his stroke in December of 2019. These last two years gave Emery an opportunity to express love and appreciation to many friends and family who were the center of his long life. He was very grateful to have had this time to reflect on cherished memories.
Emery is survived by his wife Nancy, five children and three stepchildren, fourteen grandchildren, two sisters and numerous nieces and nephews.
An outdoor gathering to celebrate his life will be announced at a later date.
For nearly 7 decades, Emery was my neighbor, my doctor, and my mentor on and off the tennis courts. I had the great privilege of playing tennis tournaments with Emery as my doubles partner. Not only did he invent creative shots (and gave them names), but he was an unfailingly good sport whose only questionable calls were the ones he made against himself! He was a truly great man, the likes of which we may never see again. Farewell, my good doubles partner!
What a wonderful man
Farewell to a mentor; in the honorable practice of Medicine, engaging in meaningful civic activities as well as personal growth and fostering of loving friendships. Many thanks. Love to the family.
My heart goes out to the entire Herman family. Emery was truly a southern gentle man with great compassion and a lively sense of humor. He is missed.
One of the last of the generation of great bassett doctors. A true ”Southern Gentiemen”.
Emery Herman was a major force in my life. His bond with my dad became his bond with me. He was my physician, my mentor, and ultimately, my friend. He was so positive in all he did – very bright, very aware, very funny, and seemingly always happy to enjoy each moment. He inspired me, both on the tennis court and in making life-affecting decisions. He was incredibly supportive, despite whatever the specific predicament du jour. Patrice and I will miss him dearly, but what a privilege to have been included in his life.
I remember Dr. Herman coming to medical records to view charts. Always kind. He will be missed.