Robert L. Herndon
1947 - 2020
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Robert L. Herndon

Allendale - 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. 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. Arrangements handled by Vander Plaat Funeral Home, for more information, please visit

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Published in Town Journal from Sep. 28 to Oct. 1, 2020.
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8 entries
October 6, 2020
True Blue, the Chief was!!! A good man through and through and will be sorrowfully missed. He represented all that was good in our Allendale Police Force. From the day some 51 years ago when he was able to free a young "Light-fingers Andy" hand from a certain A&P gumball machine, much to the chagrin of his mother and brother (bagging groceries) to the handling of the elevated unrest of "Hippie Hill" and targeted bombing of the Allendale Liquor Store he was always the calm, cool-headed force that worked towards maintaining the peace and order in our little hamlet. To all the times you delivered one of my siblings (never me of course) home to the wrath of my Dad before they infringed upon the law and to those days when you were first on the scene when a family member or friend needed first responders to assist an older parent or injured resident get to Valley Hospital in need of care. Thank you Bob Herndon for all you did for those you served! God Bless!!
Andrew Welter
October 2, 2020
Just a phenomenal person, loved and cared for his wife and daughters. He was one person that you count on. My heart and sincerest sympathy is sent to his family. May God bless his family and god will extend his grace for all eternity.
With sympathy,
Nick Minicucci
Nick Minicucci
October 1, 2020
Deepest condolences, he was a great man!
Joe Squillace
September 29, 2020
Susan. I can't say enough about Bob and what he meant to me. He was my Door gunner when I first was assigned to the 92nd AHC at Fort Carson, Co. In 1967. We had some bad times and good times in Viet Nam but survived. My wife Joan and I send our deepest sympathy and sorrow for your loss. He was the greatest man I've ever known.
Richard Savage
Served In Military Together
September 29, 2020
My wife Roseann and I offer our deepest condolences.
Bob was the consummate professional. As Mayor he made my job a lot easier. He will be missed. May God bless you and your family through this trying time.
Vince and Roseann Barra
Vince Barra
September 29, 2020
may God rest your soul Bob. My condolences to Susan and family.
peter mazzeo
September 28, 2020
I knew Bobby back in the day, when we were patrolmen. He was in Allendale and I in Upper Saddle River. He was a class guy who would do anything for you. My condolences to his family. RIP Brother.
Jim Hennion
September 28, 2020
It was good working with you Chief, first as a Sergeant and then as the Chief of Police. You loved your family, your town, your police department and your country. Now you are with the other members of the Allendale Police Department who served Allendale and are now in Heaven. Be well knowing you did your job on this Earth, may your soul shine in perpetual light and peace.
Sgt. Al McCarthy
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