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Tiki Central Forums General Tiki Wesley Herron, builder of Kon-Tiki chain
Wesley Herron, builder of Kon-Tiki chain
mike and marie
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 24, 2008
Posts: 352
Posted: 2017-11-22 09:50 am   Permalink

DJ Max Payola pointed out to us that we recently lost Wesley Herron at 96. Something we don't like about obituaries is that we usually find out so many interesting things about a person -- and it's too late to talk to them about it all!

We didn't know Mr. Herron but he didn't live too far away and it would have been fantastic to get to interview him about his time overseeing the building of the Kon-Tiki restaurants. We were lucky, by fate, to happen to live right next door to an exceptionally talented German carpenter who built the bar and other major fixtures at the Cleveland Kon-Tiki.

Posting Mr. Herron's obit here. Hopefully someone might be able to add a little more. We will say this: Requiescat in pace.

Wesley Herron (1919-2017)

Wesley R. Herron, age 98 of North Royalton. Loving husband of the late Gladys B. Herron (nee Feldkircher); loving father of Janice Silla (Paul) and the late Wesley Robert Herron; cherished grandfather of Lauren Silla; beloved brother of Virginia Byers (Gerald), William Herron (Ann, deceased) and also the following deceased, Lee Herron (Mary), Wayne Herron (Garnet), Frances Herron and Shirley Allman (Leroy). He was a 76th Field Artillery Battalion WWII Army Veteran with the European Theater of Operations. Wesley passed away June 4, 2017. The family suggests memorial contributions be made to the American Cancer Society, 10501 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH 44106. Mass of Christian Burial will be at St. Albert the Great, Saturday June 10, 2017 at 10:00am. Saturday Morning prayers will be 9:15am at the funeral home. Interment will be at Holy Cross Cemetery, Brook Park. The family will receive friends from 4-8pm Friday June 9, 2017 at BUSCH FUNERAL HOME, 7501 RIDGE RD., PARMA. (440)842-7800

Wesley Randall Herron was born in the small town of McArthur Ohio on March 13,1919.

Around the world the year 1919 witnessed the formation of the first Politburo in Russia, the founding of the Nazi party in Germany, the beginnings of the Turkish state rising from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire, the establishment of prohibition in the United States and the signing of the Treaty of Versailles officially ending the first World War. All these events unknown to our newborn Wesley would greatly effect him and his journey through life.

Wes attended a one room schoolhouse and to this day owns the brass bell which signaled the beginning of each new session. In the ninth grade Wes was designated by the school board as the official district bus driver. Apparently this 14 year old lad had acquired the experience and trust to be given this responsibility and no one who knew Wes in later years would likely be surprised by this decision.

After graduation from high school life must have seemed a whirlwind of life changing activity to this small town son of Ohio farmers. Odd jobs, mechanical aptitude, an agreeable demeanor and uncanny native intelligence eventually led to a carpentry position at the Terminal Tower in Cleveland and to connections that would define his later adult life. Of course world events had other immediate plans for our young Wesley Herron.

At the age of 22 Wes found himself as an artillery driver and cannoneer deep in the European theater of World War II. Having landed in Normandy during the second day of D-Day operations Wes' recollection was undoubtedly the most horrific experience of his young life. His memory of wading through his fallen comrades on his way up the French beach would chill Wes forever.

His memories and recollections of WWII were many and fascinating, but the events Wes recounted most vividly were the deadly cold alongside the frozen tree splintering enemy barrages during the battle of Hurtgen Forest in the winter of 1944. Battery C of the 76th Field Artillery Battalion laid down over 175,000 rounds of artillery over 189 straight days of combat in support of Allied troop advancements through France, Belgium, Germany and Czechoslovakia until wars end.

Fortunately wars end found still youthful Wes celebrating the liberation of France alongside thousands of others in the grateful shadow of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. Those two weeks would forever be recounted with that sly mirthful gleam everyone who knew Wes would recognize. His recollection of climbing the Eiffel Tower, wine bottles clinking in battle jacket pockets, and toasting the city of lights from far above the celebration would remain the enduring memory of his war experience.

Having already lived more life then most, Wesley Herron was just getting started. The next few years would find Wes married to Gladys and father to Janice. Together they traveled extensively throughout the country and experienced much of what post-war America had to offer. Wes was employed for a number of years in building the famous Kon Tiki restaurant chain and traveled extensively to Chicago, Miami, Montreal, Cleveland and Los Angeles overseeing the restaurants design and completion. After living for a while in Los Angeles, Wes and family settled down in North Royalton where he worked at the Goudreau Company up until the time of his demise at the age of 98.

There are men who shape the ages they inhabit as the ages shape all men who inhabit them. Wesley Herron was a man who understood and greatly appreciated this balance of life given his way. Never complaining, always positive and cheerfully forthright Wes was a man true to the challenging spirit of the time which he helped shape and was in turn shaped by. He will be greatly missed by all who were touched in many ways great and small by this true quiet giant of his times. Rest in peace Wesley Randall Herron, child, father and grandfather to our entire 20th century.


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Grand Member (8 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 9204
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2017-11-22 12:01 pm   Permalink

Cool. I wonder what his role was with the Kon Tiki chain? He "traveled extensively to Chicago, Miami, Montreal, Cleveland and Los Angeles overseeing the restaurants design and completion", general contractor? It says he worked for the Goudreau Company (property management) until he died. So much for retirement! (I think that may be my retirement plan too )
I just found out that MD 20/20 stands for Mogen David and not for Mad Dog. My TC name AND my teenage years are a sham :(

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