Chemistry professor dies unexpectedly at age 67
By Bethany Grov?
Retired McDaniel faculty member Dr. David W. Herlocker will always be remembered for his passion for running, his family and dogs. He’ll be remembered every time his friends pour a Pepsi (not Coke) over ice or purchase a lottery ticket.
Herlocker, a chemistry professor on the Hill for 40 years, died at home on Wednesday March 19 at 67-years-old.
Herlocker was department chairman and was named professor emeritus upon his retiring in 2006.
“Under his leadership, the Chemistry Department doubled in size, moved into high-tech labs, founded a chemistry honor society, Gamma Sigma Epsilon, and graduated scores of students who have gone on to impressive graduate schools and careers in industry and the medical field,” according to the memorandum e-mail sent out by President Joan Coley on March 21.
Herlocker graduated cum laude from Knox College in 1962 with a degree in chemistry, as stated the memorandum. He earned his M.S. from the University of Illinois in 1964 and in 1966 earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and served on numerous committees on campus.
As a member of the Westminster Road Runners Club and founder of the Main Street Mile, Herlocker was quite a fan of track and field. He remained an avid runner until 1995, when an accident left him seriously injured. A year later through persistence and hard work, he was able to finish the Main Street Mile.
“I used to visit him while he was in rehab after his horrific accident,” said Coley. “I would always bring him lottery tickets. I accused him of holding out on me when he told me that he never won the jackpot, and when he retired he claimed that he had a secret Jaguar stashed away from his lottery winnings.”
Herlocker was a very uniquely intelligent man with great drive and work ethic. Former Provost Sam Case made a speech at Herlocker’s memorial ceremony on March 25.
“Neither was Dave a quitter,” said Case. “An example of this was his first marathon, the Marine Corps marathon, back in the late 70’s. He dropped out at 17 miles due to fatigue. He was not happy about this so we drove back to Washington over Christmas break to run the last 9.2 miles, giving him a time of 42 days, 6 hours and 12 minutes for his first marathon, but he did not quit. Obviously these qualities were exhibited in his remarkable recovery from the terrible accident.”
A story shared from biology laboratory coordinator, Robert Repsher, an alumnus of Western Maryland College, portrayed Herlocker’s same dedication, as well as disgust with Maryland drivers in the snow.
“He was a very unique man. He was known for never being late to classes and never cancelling classes,” Repsher said. “I had an eight o’clock chemistry class with him. I remember when the provost would close the college due to inclement weather, he decided to meet his classes anyway and expected the students to show up.”
Herlocker was a man filled with knowledge and trivia.
Coley said in faculty meetings they would often turn to him for questions about course prerequisites, academic calendar dates or any other trivia because he always knew the answer.
Other things he enjoyed, according to Case, were Jeopardy, dogs, the Carroll County Dog Show, the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago Bears. He took a special interest in McDaniel women’s volleyball and basketball. He was dedicated to seeing his students succeed and was often seen cheering on the athletes and writing lengthy graduate school recommendation letters.
Herlocker is survived by his children and partners Caryn Herlocker Meade and Adam Meade of Raleigh, NC, and Daniel Herlocker and Ellen Keelan of Brattleboro, VT; father Donald Herlocker of Canton, IL; brother and sister-in-law William and Hilda Herlocker of Kildeer, IL; sister and brother-in-law Linda and Peter Speck of Wanganui New Zealand; grandchildren Evan and Georgia Meade; former wife and friend Helen Herlocker; and numerous friends.