Dr Tom Frederick Hering

1935 -2021

I am veTom_Hering.jpgry sad to announce the death of Tom Hering. Tom passed away suddenly on 15/03/2021 after being diagnosed in January 2021 with Pancreatic Cancer, he leaves dearly loved family, two daughters, Ruth and Caroline and two grandsons.

Born 7/04/1935 in West Hampstead, London and son of Frank Hering (a German trade unionist and teacher who was arrested for working on an illegal magazine but escaped to England from the Nazis), and Catherine Trouton, (daughter of Professor of physics Frederick Thomas Trouton, known for Trouton’s Rule).Tom had two sisters and a half brother

During his early years he attended various boarding schools. His father was politically progressive and sent him at the very tender age of four to Beacon Hill school, established by Bertrand and Dora Russell as a Social and Educational experiment, originally in Surrey, it relocated to Cornwall. Then at eight on to Stoatley Rough, a school for the children of Jewish Refugees. Tom remained here until he was fourteen when he was entered early for his school certificate exams.

His parents had a hard time having escaped from Nazi Germany, they divorced when Tom was eight. His holidays outside of term time were spent mostly with his mother who evacuated from London to several different homes in Devon and Cornwall, eventually settling to a small holding near Nancledra, Penzance after a second marriage.

As a teenager, Tom moved back to London to live with his father and Lotte his step mother, a Jewish refugee from Romania. He attended Quintin Grammar School, in Upper Regent Street and sat his A levels early. He was too young to attend University so worked as a technician in the Royal Free medical school for a year to avoid National Service while he waited until he was old enough to go to University. 
 
He studied for a BA in natural sciences at Magdalene College Cambridge, graduating in 1956, he remained at Cambridge working on The Biology of Helico Basidium Purpureum gaining his PhD 1959.   

From 1959-65 he worked on fungal succession in leaf litter at the Nature Conservancy Council, Merlewood Research Station, Grange over Sands, in the Lake District alongside Juliet Frankland. During this period he wrote a number of papers which can be found in the BMS Journals, Ann. Appl Biol, Nature and Journal of the American Phytopathology.

In 1965 Tom gained a post at the University of Nottingham School of Agriculture, Sutton Bonnington. Now married, he moved with his wife Mary Jennifer (Dewhurst) to Kegworth, Leicestershire. Sadly Jenny died in 1983 leaving Tom, a single parent to look after his two girls. 

In 1985 he was fortunate to obtain a 6 month sabbatical at Washington State University, USA working on the biology of Pythium, and its impact on agricultural yields. Tom retired in 1990.

Apart from his academic life, Tom enjoyed numerous physical and intellectual activities. Whilst at Cambridge he organised a walking holiday to Austria and enjoyed many trips to Scotland and Wales. 

He joined the British Mycological Society and the Yorkshire Naturalist Union in the early 1960’s and when able, participated fully in their field activities. In 1986 he set up with Richard Iliffe the Leicestershire Fungus Study Group and was the Leicestershire County fungal recorder, increasing the records from 3000 - 55000.

He was a sailing enthusiast and was a Scout Leader with Kegworth Scouts.

When retired, Tom volunteered for the National Trust, organising residential work holidays. He volunteered for books on wheels and did regular voluntary house visits and care work with individuals in the community. A member of the Labour party, the Fabian society and the National Trust he travelled widely, enjoying opera at Glyndebourne and Italy and numerous exotic holidays. He enjoyed creative writing, playing the guitar, painting watercolours and read avidly.

Tom had an extraordinary memory, and an encyclopaedic knowledge of a vast array of subjects including literature, arts, history, politics, classical music, botany and of course his favourite subject, fungi. 

Although Tom was a regular at BMS field meetings, he was a quiet, modest and private individual and it was only when one got to know him better did you realise what a deeply intellectual and kindly man he was.

He will be remembered fondly by the field community and sadly missed.