Natalie Brown Herndon
Funeral Services will be held at the Meadowbrook Church of Christ, in Jackson on Wednesday, April 22, at 5:30 p.m. Pallbearers will be Brett Ashy, Kristian Blackwell, Clint McClain, Mike Redd, Jeremy Robbins, Walter Sills, Jim Williams, and Ben Windham. Honorary pallbearers will be Dr. Sebron Harrison, Dr. Jeff Michel, Kenny Meyers, Dr. Edward Moak, Dr. Robin Nations, Dr. Louis Vincent Puneky, Tom Reeves, and Dr. Jeff Ross.
Visitation is at 5 p.m. at Meadowbrook Church of Christ. Local visitation will be held at the Brookhaven Funeral Home, located on 894 Natchez Dr., Tuesday, April 21, 2015 from 5 until 8 p.m.
Natalie Brown Herndon, PhD, 69, fell asleep in the Lord on Saturday, April 18th, at King’s Daughters Medical Center in Brookhaven, following a hard-fought struggle with lung cancer. On April 30, 1945, Natalie was born in Mobile, Alabama. She was a beautiful, red-haired girl who was adopted as an infant by her loving parents, Mims Emerson Brown (a cotton gin owner) and Natalie Barber Brown (a first-grade school teacher). Sadly, Natalie contracted polio at age 6, the year before the vaccine was available and spent three years at the hospital in Warm Springs, Georgia which had been set up by Franklin D. Roosevlet for the treatment of polio. She remarkably had over 30 surgeries on her legs and knees before the age of 10, all while living apart from her parents who lived in Jackson. This did not stop her from becoming an “A” student. Thanks to her school teacher mother, she became one of the first children who benefited from teachers coming to her home from school to continue her education during her rehabilitation. After graduating high school, she participated in the vocational rehabilitation program and finished her bachelor’s degree at the Mississippi University for Women in just three years instead of four. She did this because she was sensitive to the fact that she was there on a grant from the U.S. government and did not want to be financially irresponsible. Natalie later graduated from the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson in 1969 with a Master of Science in chemistry, then graduated from Tulane Medical School in New Orleans, Louisiana, with her PhD in biochemistry in 1972.
Natalie was known as a “can do” person. In her younger life, she could go faster on her two crutches than most people could run. She had a love of life and learning and was a brilliant and loving woman. She supported her husband of over 40 years, Dr. Caleb William Herndon, by becoming the owner of Brookhaven Optical and being the co-owner/manager of the Herndon Eye Clinic. She was a dynamic business woman and also owned/operated Herndon Quarter Horses, which she developed into a nationally respected quarter horse stable and breeding program, creating multiple World Championship level horses. She raised her children balancing love of learning and assisting them in teaching life lessons which resulted from years of hard work. Natalie’s personality and her smile were contagious. She never met a stranger. She had an innate ability to relate to people and express compassion and interest in them. She made you feel that you were liked, appreciated and that you had just made a friend. She also absolutely loved her animals. She joked several times that she could keep a full-time vet in business with all of her dogs and beloved cats, most of which were rescued animals. She further expressed her compassionate nature through her lifelong service in various volunteer and community organizations and was recognized for her work as “Alumni of the Year” by the Mississippi University for Women, and “Lion of The Year” by the Brookhaven Evening Lions Club.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Caleb William Herndon; and her parents Mr. and Mrs. Mims Emerson and Natalie Briscoe Brown, of Jackson.
Survivors are her two children, Natalie Cox Herndon, Ph.D., of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Caleb William “Billy” Herndon II, of Brookhaven.
May God richly bless the entire staff of the University of Mississippi Medical Center (oncology floor staff and nurses, Dr. Sebron Harrison, and Dr. Louis Vincent Puneky), King’s Daughters Medical Center, Dr. Edward Moak, Monique at Sta-Home Health and Hospice and her angelic caregivers, Dana Atwell Lofton, Renee Simpson and Karlie Lofton.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the following organizations: The March of Dimes, Sunnybrook Children’s Home, or the Mississippi University for Women.