Brad William Herriott
Capt. Brad William Herriott, 46, of Naples, Florida went to be with his Lord on December 11, 2017. He was a loving husband, devoted father, caring son and brother, and selfless friend, beloved by all who were privileged to know him. Brad's outsized personality, warm heart, ready smile, and love of people drew others to him and enriched their lives.
Brad was born and raised on the family farm in Seymour, IL, the second of the four sons of Bill and Barb Herriott. As a child, Brad loved airplanes, playing his trombone, and making people laugh - not necessarily in that order. He learned to fly on the family farm, mastering a Piper Cherokee when he was 14; earning his pilot's license at 15. In high school he played trombone in the marching band and jazz band and was a member of the Marching Illini Band while in college at the University of Illinois. Brad attended the University of Illinois's School of Aviation earning various aeronautic certificates and graduated with a Bachelors degree from Eastern Illinois University in 1993. For several years Brad worked as a flying instructor in Champaign, IL.
In 1995, Brad realized his dream of being a professional pilot when he began his career at United Airlines. His skill and passion for flying enabled him to become one of the youngest full captains in the history of the airline. In 2001 he received the United Airlines Corporate Division "Safety First Award," The United Airlines Flight Operations Division Airmanship Award, and was the United MEC Nominee for the ALPA National Superior Airmanship Award for preventing a runway accident involving two commercial airliners.
In 1999, while stationed in Miami, FL, Brad met and married the love of his life, Nathalie (nee Rocha). Together they formed a loving home complete with three daughters and their son. The Herriotts moved to Naples, FL in 2008 and became loving foster parents opening their home to several children.
Brad was a serious professional who respected the life and death nature of his job. But to those who were privileged to know him, he will be remembered most for the joy he spread wherever he went and to whomever he met. Brad knew no strangers, only friends. Their home was always open with diverse friends and family freely coming and going. For several years they hosted a Halloween party for 300 to 400 of their friends and one year had a massive party that featured 3 legged races and watermelon spitting contests. Led by Brad, their neighborhood became a place where kids easily wandered into each others' home, and where the adults became close friends who could work together helping each other with projects and then relax over a beverage telling stories and laughing at each other's corny jokes. In the center of all the fun was Brad, laughing, joking, performing magic tricks, and inventing new harmless high jinx.
When Brad was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer, his approach to his disease mimicked his approach to life. Like Viktor Frankel, he chose his response. He sought out the best treatments and valiantly fought the cancer, all the while continuing to enjoy life and to bring laughter to each situation and to all the medical professionals and others he met, and reminding all of us to "Eat your vegetables."
Brad is survived by his wife, Nathalie (nee Rocha); son William (Will); daughters, Daniela, Kaeli, and Dania; parents, Bill and Barb Herriott of Seymour, IL; brothers Brian (Allison) of Cincinnati, OH, Billy of Mahomet, and Ben (Laura) of Champaign, IL, half siblings Craig Herriott, Laura Herriott Baylor, Linda Herriott Irle; his parents-in-laws, Jaime and Marilu Rocha of Naples; a nephew, Evan; and three nieces, Ella, Louisa, and Madeleine; as well as a village of friends who will sorely miss him.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 16 at the First Baptist Church Chapel, 3000 Orange Blossom Drive, Naples FL 34109. A private interment will follow. It was Brad's request that those attending the service wear white or other light and happy colors. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Friends of Foster Children Forever, which provides health insurance, schools supplies, tutoring, and pocket money for foster children in our area. The address is 2640 Golden Gate Parkway #112, Naples, FL 34105.
Published by Naples Daily News on Dec. 14, 2017.