Jonathan O’Herron, of Darien, Connecticut, and Woods Hole Massachusetts, passed away peacefully on April 4, 2013, after a short illness. John was born on October 28, 1929, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts to Helena (nee Coughlin) and S. John O’Herron. He attended Cranwell School in Lenox Massachusetts as a day student, then graduated from Williams College in 1951. He later attended Harvard Business School, where he received his MBA in 1957.
After college, Jonathan served briefly in the U.S. Navy, achieving the rank of Lieutenant JG. His professional career began at General Electric Company, followed by Buckeye Pipe Line Company where he rose to Executive Vice President. Crucial to his business career was his short time spent as Treasurer of Buckeye’s parent company, the Penn Central Transportation Company. He moved to the position at the behest of Felix Rohatyn of Lazard Freres & Co., as Lazard led Penn Central through its well known 1970 bankruptcy. Hired by Lazard soon thereafter, John’s business career is most remembered for his investment banking work there over forty years, most of the time as a Partner and Managing Director, positions that he never officially retired from. At Lazard, in addition to being involved in dozens of noteworthy mergers, acquisitions, and financings, he was known for always finding the time to serve as a mentor to many future investment bankers. He constantly stressed to them the importance of balancing work with their family life. His character stood out in the business community where he was held in universal high regard for his integrity, and his modest “salt of the earth” personality.
His family, along with his many friends, were his greatest devotion. He was never happier than when he was playing golf or dining with them at Woodway Country Club, in CT or Woods Hole Golf Club on Cape Cod. Also, Jonathan also was deeply committed to his faith and to giving to others who were less fortunate than he. Although his free time was scarce, his participation with the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York went beyond his formal role as Trustee and Chair of the Finance Committee. According to Executive Director Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, “In addition to everything else, we loved John for asking time and time again, what more was there that he could do.” John was a Trustee of the American Red Cross in Greater New York, Kolbe Cathedral High School in Bridgeport, Ct., New York Medical College, St. Joseph Medical Center in Stamford Ct., and the Inner-City Scholarship Fund of the Archdiocese of New York. He was also an integral member of The National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management. He was made a Knight of St. Gregory by Pope John Paul II in 2004.
John also spent considerable time supporting education. He established two scholarship funds at Williams College (one under his mother’s name) and a scholarship fund at Fordham University. He spent 15 years as a Trustee, then as a Trustee Emeritus of Middlebury College, where he was secretly a supporter of the athletic teams, rivals to Williams. He and his family recently launched a new internship program for Middlebury students who commit to doing service for others. Also, out of gratitude for his children and grandchildren’s time at St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire, he established a scholarship fund and was a Trustee there for nine years.
John is survived by his son Jonathan O’Herron Jr., his daughters Anne Burleigh (Jon Burleigh) and Sarah Casey (C. Alec Casey), 11 adoring and adored grandchildren, and his brother William J. O’Herron. John’s wife of 48 years, Shirley, predeceased him in 2004.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held privately at St. John’s Church in Darien, followed by interment at Spring Grove Cemetery. A Memorial Mass will be held at 11:00 am on Wednesday April 10 at St. Thomas More Church, 374 Middlesex Rd, Darien. The Rev. Gerald Blaszczak S.J. will officiate. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations be made to: The O’Herron Family Foundation, PO Box 4816, Stamford, CT 06907.