Henry Hersch was born on June 1, 1925 in Columbus, Ohio to Henry Hersch and Ella Beren Hersch. He was raised in Parkersburg, West Virginia.
Henry served in the US Army as a Sargent in the Infantry 1943-1946. He saw action in France and Germany in the Northern France, Ardennes, Rhineland and Central Europe Campaigns, which ended at the Battle of the Bulge. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Combat Infantryman’s Badge and Presidential Unit Citation.
After the war Henry first attended Princeton University and then Yale Law School. He moved to Cincinnati to join the Law firm of Paxton & Seasongood, which later merged into the firm of Thompson & Hine LLP.
There were few Jewish organizations in Cincinnati that did not benefit from Henry’s service. A quick search of the American Israelite archives from 1960 to 1977 reveals more than twenty articles in which he is mentioned.
Henry’s first significant position was as President of Jewish Family Service Bureau in 1962 and 1963. In 1964, Henry was appointed to the National Council of United HIAS Service. In 1966 he was the Jewish Welfare Fund Campaign Chairman.
All of these were just a prelude to 1967. During 1967 Henry became one of the youngest Presidents in Rockdale Temple’s history. His two year term included the tumultuous Avondale riots in 1968 as well as the on-going construction of the building on Ridge Road that became Rockdale Temple’s home in 1969. In the same year the Associated Jewish Agencies and the Jewish Welfare Fund joined to form the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati; Henry was a member of the first executive committee formed that year. Finally, Jewish Hospital was one of the pre-eminent Jewish institutions in Cincinnati, and membership on its Board of Trustees was a significant achievement. In 1967 Henry was appointed to the Board of Trustees and he served until 1977. In 1968 Henry was appointed to the Board of Governors of Hebrew Union College where he served for twelve years until 1980.
Henry summed up his sense of responsibility in an interview he gave to the American Israelite in 1966 (Nov. 11, 1965). “Even as a youngster, I was made aware by my father of the obligation which each of us owes to civic causes.
“He taught me by his own example, and I recall how thoroughly he enjoyed his participation in community life.
“As a newcomer to Cincinnati, my desire to participate in various charitable activities was welcomed. The experience which I have in fund-raising, budgeting, community planning and on the boards of various agencies has provided me with some perspective for the campaign chairmanship.
“One of my goals is to encourage all contributors to develop an understanding of our agencies and community processes.
“If there is combined with this an appreciation of national and overseas needs, we shall develop a general sense of commitment which will inevitably produce better giving and better community.”
True to his word, Henry devoted his talents to general community causes as well. He was Chairman of the Board of WGUC, served on the Ohio Education Commission, and his service as Vice Chairman of the Hamilton County Community Mental Health and Mental Retardation Board “led to his throwing out a first pitch at a Cincinnati Reds major league baseball game and seeing his beaming smile on the stadium’s huge Jumbotron screen.” (Healdsburg Tribune)
Henry and Gloria moved to Healdsburg, CA in 1997 where he picked up right where he left off in Cincinnati, diving into the communal needs of the city. He led a campaign to save the local hospital from closure, “helped found the Healdsburg Education Foundation, revived the Boys & Girls club, wrote bylaws for the local arts center and jazz festival and mentored countless local community leaders and business owners.
“In Sonoma County, Hersch also served on the boards of the Santa Rosa Symphony, Russian River Chamber Music, Healdsburg Education Foundation, KIDS of Sonoma County, KRCB public media corporation and others.” (Healdsburg Tribune)
Henry passed away on May 13, 2021. He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Gloria Fabe Hersch, two sons, Fred, of New York City and Henry III, of Bloomfield, New Jersey; his stepdaughter, Abbe Fabe Cohen, of Santa Rosa; son Fred’s life partner Scott Morgan, and two grandchildren (Henry III's children), Max and Eva. His son Fred is an internationally known jazz pianist and composer.
The American Israelite thanks Rollie Atkinson and The Healdsburg Tribune newspaper for their permission in making use of material they included in their obituary of Henry published on May 31, 2021.
The American Israelite thanks Dr. Dana Herman and Ms. Elise Ho of the American Jewish Archives for their help in researching Henry’s achievements in