More than a sum of your stuff

My husband teeters on a very thin border between being a collector and being a hoarder.  I’m pretty sure that if he didn’t have me and the boy, he’d be a hoarder.  He collects all sorts of things and has apparently since he was a child.  From coins to stamps, swizzle sticks and matchbooks to old Atari and Nintendo game systems, his “man cave” vacillates between the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s depending on what he’s “collecting.”  He even asked for a metal detector for his birthday one year.  When I bought it for the hubs, my brother-in-law thought I had lost all of my marbles.   (Single ladies take note: there is nothing worse than a spouse who gets PMS when he doesn’t get something that he wants.)

Auctions and yard sales are a “collectors” dream and of course, hubby loves going to them. I don’t mind them too much as long as I’m not thinking about all of the things that I could and should be accomplishing if I wasn’t trying to out bid the antique dealer and little blue hair.  For the husband’s birthday week, I thought it would be fun to head out to one of the auction’s listed in the York Daily Record.  Saturday morning we headed out to an estate sale in Shiloh.

I’m always amazed at what you can learn about a person just from the sale of there stuff.  It’s almost surreal sometimes. The life of the gentleman who owned the auction items seemed amazing.  I learned from his estate that he was a WWII fighter pilot.  He probably saw some combat as he had in his possession a Japanese flag from one of their battleships.  This gentleman was also an avid golfer and enjoyed flying planes.  He also made model air planes and took really good care of his home and furniture.  He was an avid reader of airplane material and science fiction.  He collected patches, decals, stickers and pens at air shows and conventions. He was probably an airline pilot.  He commission pictures of air planes and had them signed by the artist.  He also had the pilots who flew those planes in WWII sign the pictures.  He was probably a bachelor as the estate lacked common womanly things.

Who was this person?  What stories could he have told me?  We quickly learned from the sale of a commissioned picture that the estate owner had a cousin who flew on a US bomber into Germany.  His cousin’s plane was shot down, but he survived only to be murdered by the Nazi’s on the ground.  The estate owner flew to the Nuremberg trials of those Nazi soldiers and was present when they were hung. He had documented all of this history to be given when the picture was sold.  How much was this worth?  Certainly more than the $200, the gentleman paid for the the picture.

I was so intrigued by this estate auction/sale that I searched the obituaries to find out who this man was.  He was Ricard L. Herman, and he was more than the sum of his stuff.

YORK Richard L. Herman, 84, of West Manchester Township, died at 4:31 a.m. Saturday, August 13, 2011, at York Hospital. Born April 10, 1927, in York County, a son of the late Lloyd H. and Catherine L. (Sudick) Herman, he was a 1945 graduate of William Penn High School. He was also 1951 graduate of Penn State University, where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Business, and was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity. A WWII Veteran, with overseas duty in the Panama Canal Zone, he served in the Army Air Corps, Regular Army, and Air Force Reserve from 1945-1950. A licensed pilot since 1947, he held a Commercial Pilot Certificate, with multi engine and instrument ratings. Mr. Herman worked as an insurance adjuster for Cigna and Glatfelter Insurance, and also flew charter service for York Aero. He was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), the Air Force Association, Ye Ancient and Secret Order of Quiet Birdmen, and York High Fliers. He also supported numerous military and aviation museums and historical foundations. He enjoyed model railroading, and worked on antique aircraft restorations. Throughout his life he developed an extensive knowledge of military and general aviation history, with a special focus on the U.S. Eighth Air Force operations in Europe during WWII. A graveside service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday, August 24, 2011, at Prospect Hill Cemetery, with his Interim Pastor, The Rev. Robert Lowden, officiating. Military rites will be presented by the York County Veterans Honor Guard. Kuhner Associates Funeral Directors, Inc., 863 S. George St., York (the former Hahn Home) is in charge of arrangements. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Faith Flyers, 148 Barrens Church Road, Dillsburg, PA 17019.

How are you more than a sum of your stuff?

Rest in Peace, Mr. Herman.  Thank you for serving your country.


Courtney Cashour

Courtney Cashour is mother of The Boy. Wife to Bill. She has an Eidetic memory (photographic). She is often found muttering to herself, swearing or humming Green Day’s "American Idiot." Has been known to fall over randomly while standing still.

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2 Responses

  1. Sarah Kimball-Van Horn says:

    Interesting read! Thanks!
    I stumbled upon this blog while doing my own research. Oddly enough for the same man, Richard Lee Herman.
    I am an avid militaria collector and had acquired his dog tags online, and was trying to find out more than just his name and service number.
    The search continues.

  2. Kara Eberle says:

    Very interesting, Sarah. I work in the newsroom at the York Daily Record/Sunday News. Let me know if I can help with your search.

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