It is with sadness and peace that we honour the passing of Della Herman, beloved wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend, a person whose life made a difference. She passed away March 31, 2004 in the Bulkley Lodge in Smithers, B.C.
Della was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, on August 9, 1915. Her family, including her mother, Laura, and her father, Jack, her sisters Dolly and June, and her brother, John, moved to Smithers in 1923, where she became hooked on school. Della, on the insistence of her mother, left her tiny town to go to “Norman School” in Vancouver, where she trained to become a teacher. She responded to the call of the Bulkley Valley, never to venture far away from her valley again. Della taught in Decker Lake, Glentanna and then in Smithers. She became principal of Muheim Elementary School in 1955, then supervising principal in 1978. Her passion was the school, and she prided herself in every step of its development. To the end, Della was always especially interested in her beloved Muheim. Della retired in 1981, but remained actively involved in the school system in her role as school trustee for several years. She is noted for remembering the faces and names of the many students who passed through “her” school.
Della married Edwin Herman in 1942, and they had one daughter, Dian, born in 1944. They lived in Smithers for many years, then moved to Driftwood where Della lived until 1999 where she had many adventures with her horses and dogs. Della moved to the Bulkley Lodge when living at home in Driftwood was no longer a possibility. At the Lodge she was cared for with love and compassion. She came to love the people who reside and work there.
Della’s book about the history of education in the Bulkley Valley, Bulkley Valley School Days, reflects her zeal for education and for the Bulkley Valley. She was honoured by having the “Della Herman Theatre” named after her, an accolade of which she was very proud. Della was an active member of the community, involved in the Fall Fair, the United Church, and a plethora of organizations that promoted the well-being of our school system and our community.
Any of you who knew Della were well aware of her love of Boxer dogs and Arabian horses. Many humorous stories abound about these connections.
Della loved and was loved by her family — Jamie, her grandson, who now resides in Eugene, Oregon with his wife, Lisa, and their daughter, Eliya; Michael, her grandson and Dian, her daughter who have both followed in her footsteps in teaching; and Bill, her beloved son-in-law who was always there for Della.
A memorial service for Della will be held at the Smithers United Church at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 10, where friends and family will gather to celebrate her life — a life that was lived to the fullest. Thank you to all Della’s friends and family who have lovingly and thoughtfully celebrated her long and memorable life.
There will be a gathering to celebrate Della’s life in the Della Herman Theatre following the memorial service. Please join the family and share your memories. Arrangements are entrusted to the R. A. Schrader Funeral Home.