American Patriotic 10

Robert L Herndon

May 21, 1947 ~ September 26, 2020 (age 73)


Robert (Bob) L. Herndon, 73, a lifelong resident of Allendale, N.J., passed away on Sept. 26, 2020 surrounded by his family.

Born on May 21, 1947, he met the love of his life and devoted wife of 49 years, Susan Willenbrock, in high school. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his two beloved daughters and six cherished grandchildren; Colleen (Brent Penhall) and Aiden, Madelyn and Grant of Davidson, N.C, and Ashley (Jeff Turitz) and Andrew, Avery and Gavin of Midland Park, N.J. He is also survived by his brother William (Kate) Herndon of Raleigh, N.C., his sister Leslie Splendoria of Hutto, Texas, and is predeceased by his older brother Kenneth (Joan) Herndon of Royal Palm Beach, Fla.

Well-known for his enviable handlebar mustache, Bob, known to many friends as “Chief,” and as “Pops” to his grandchildren, led a purpose-filled life of service to his town, state and country, ultimately retiring from the Allendale Police Department after 41 years and 20 years as the Chief of Police.

After graduating from high school, Bob was drafted to serve in the United States Army in Vietnam. He was a helicopter door gunner with 92nd Assault Helicopter Co., receiving the Air Medal for Meritorious Achievement 13 times and later being honored by N.J. Governor Christine Whitman with the N.J. Distinguished Service Medal.

When Bob returned home from Vietnam, he attended Pace University and was selected as a patrolman in the Allendale Police Department. He was promoted to Sergeant in 1984 and served as President of the Bergen County Traffic Officers Association, often testifying before the State Legislature about traffic safety issues, including the importance of wearing seat belts and adding air bags to vehicles to save lives.

Bob was selected as Chief of Police in 1990 and served in this role until his retirement in 2010. During this time, he held several leadership appointments including: President of the Bergen County Police Chiefs Association, President of the N.J. Association of Chiefs of Police, Board Member for D.A.R.E. International, member of the N.J. Human Relations Commission, Legislative Committee member of the International Association of Chief of Police and member of the Governor-appointed N.J. Parole Advisory Board. Throughout his two-decade career as police chief, Bob was honored with the Chief’s Achievement Award in 1993 and received the President’s Award from the N.J. State Association of Chiefs of Police in 2008. 

He also enjoyed volunteering his time as a founding Trustee for the Allendale Foundation for Educational Excellence, as Chairman of the Borough of Allendale Beautification Advisory Committee, as Committee Chairman of the Bergen County Police Chiefs Association 9/11 Memorial and as a member of the Allendale Municipal Planning Board for more than 20 years.

As a veteran and member of the police department, one of his favorite memories was marching in Allendale’s Memorial Day parade with his young daughters and years later, his grandchildren. An enthusiast of good cigars, antiques, art and traveling, he and his wife Susan enjoyed taking river boat cruises across Europe and Asia in recent years, ultimately making it back to Vietnam, more than 50 years after his tour ended in the army.

The family would like to thank the Mt. Sinai liver transplant team - doctors, nurses and staff - for their care, compassion and support throughout the past year.

An outdoor memorial service will be held on Friday, Oct. 2 at 10 a.m. at the 9/11 Memorial at Crestwood Lake, 300 West Crescent Ave, Allendale. For those who plan to attend, please bring a face covering. His burial with military honors will follow at Wyckoff Reformed Church Cemetery. Family and friends will celebrate Bob’s life at The Brick House in Wyckoff. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Vietnam Veterans of America are greatly appreciated. 


Memorial Gathering
October 2, 2020

10:00 AM
Crestwood Lake 9/11 Memorial
300 West Crescent Ave
Allendale, NJ 07401

October 2, 2020

11:15 AM
Wyckoff Reformed Church Cemetery
580 Wyckoff Avenue
Wyckoff, NJ 07481


Vietnam Veterans of America

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