Martin J. Herman, 81, of Haddon Township, a labor reporter for the Evening Bulletin and later a publicist in New Jersey, died Sunday, Nov. 29, at Cooper University Hospital of complications from a series of strokes after a three-month battle with cancer.
Known as “Gene,” he was born and raised in Philadelphia, and graduated from North Catholic High School in 1956.
After graduation, Mr. Herman attended La Salle College before going to work in the Bulletin newsroom in the PSFS building at 30th and Market Streets. He covered business and labor for more than 25 years until the paper closed in January 1982.
“I was a young kid at the Bulletin, and Gene was one of the veterans who was very kind and encouraging to me,” said Joseph Owens, a journalist based in Woodbury. “We kept in touch in the years since. One of the great ones. May God bless him.”
Among Mr. Herman’s topics during his long Bulletin career: a lack of equal opportunities for minorities in the construction industry (1970), the waning of the garment trade in Philadelphia (1974), and the expected closing of the Food Fair grocery chain (1979).
Mr. Herman worked for the State of New Jersey as the director of communications for the Department of Labor. Later, he served as the deputy press secretary for the governor’s office under Christine Todd Whitman before retiring in 2000.
“When she got out, he quit,” said his wife, Regina Iorio Herman, known as Jeanne.
He and Jeanne married in 1960. Three years later, they moved to Haddon Township, where they raised five children. He maintained a vacation home in Brigantine and enjoyed spending time there with family, especially his 10 grandchildren.
In retirement, he wrote the City of Brigantine’s newsletter for several years. “He was paid $40 per issue,” said his son Martin J. Herman, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon. “The newsletter came out quarterly. He loved it. It got him up in the morning.”
His wife described her husband as “friendly, happy, loving, selfless, and interested in people.”
“He was crazy about the grandkids; a toy train collector who loved to go to train shows; and he lived for the family,” his wife said. He enjoyed the beach, following the Philly sports teams, taking day trips by car, and spending a month each winter in Naples, Fla.
For 57 years, he was an usher each Sunday at St. Rose of Lima Church in Haddon Heights.
In 1984, a son, Patrick J. Herman, sustained brain injuries in an auto accident and was cared for in a South Jersey nursing home for the following 19 years. Each night on the way home from work, Mr. Herman would stop and visit. Patrick Herman died in 2003 at age 36.
In addition to his wife, Regina, son Martin, and 10 grandchildren, he is survived by children Regina Ann Muccifori, Michael J. Herman, and Mary Margaret Gannon; two sisters; a brother; and 19 nieces and nephews.
A viewing will be held from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 4, at the Healey Funeral Home, 9 White Horse Pike, Haddon Heights. A Funeral Mass will follow at 11 a.m. at St. Rose of Lima Church, Fourth Avenue and Kings Highway, Haddon Heights. Interment will be at St. Josephs Cemetery, Chews Landing. Masks should be worn and social distancing observed.
Donations may be made to the Patrick J. Herman Scholarship Fund c/o St. Rose of Lima School, 300 Kings Highway, Haddon Heights, N.J. 08035. A celebration of Mr. Herman’s life will be held in Brigantine once the pandemic subsides.