John Calum Herdson of Southampton Dies April 5 - 27 East

John Calum Herdson of Southampton Dies April 5

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John Calum Herdson

John Calum Herdson

authorStaff Writer on Apr 19, 2024

John Calum Herdson of Southampton died on April 5 following a battle with glioblastoma. He was 75.

He was born on February 19, 1949, in Queens, to Betty and Malcolm Herdson. The family lived in Southampton, where he graduated from Southampton High School in 1967. He attended Hastings College in Nebraska, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in physical education. He was a U.S. Army National Guard veteran.

A jovial spirit and compassion for others guided his life and career. Through numerous positions in recreation, he excelled in customer service. He was the physical director at the YMCA in Norwich, New York, from 1972-1979, director of physical education at the West Morris YMCA in Randolph, New Jersey, from 1979-1982, and associate executive director of the Howard County YMCA in Ellicott City, Maryland, from 1982-1984. From 1984-1988, he served as village manager of the Wilde Lake Community Association in Columbia, Maryland. He was the general manager of the Columbia Swim Center from 1988-1998, before becoming director of aquatics for the Columbia Association in 1998.

Known fondly as “the pool guy,” he managed 23 outdoor pools and three indoor facilities, yet his greatest impact was on the people who staffed each pool and on the community members who frequented the facilities. He treated everyone — family members, friends, and complete strangers — with kindness and respect. His love for others was evident by his actions and his words, his family said. He was also a proponent for kids learning to swim. Many of those young swimmers became lifeguards who eventually brought their own children to lessons and swim teams.

After retirement, he and his golf buddies spent many days enjoying the local courses, where he would say, “No matter the score, it is always a beautiful day.” This optimistic disposition guided his life: no matter what happened, he looked for the positive and shared his joy with others, according to his family. He was loved by his neighbors and planned and participated in various community events.

Married for over 52 years to his wife, Christine, theirs was a lifelong love affair that began when they were both still in college. His heart belonged to his family — his three sons and daughters-in-law, Scott (Nicki), Jay (Beth), Michael (Casey) and his six grandchildren — Riley, Anna, Julia, Drew, Paula and Harper. He was Dad, GP, coach, advocate, teaser and loudest cheerleader, above all a steady force and constant example of the love that holds a family together, his family said.

Family received friends at the Harry H. Witzke’s Family Funeral Home in Ellicott City on April 15. A funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Paul Catholic Church in Ellicott City on April 16. Interment was private.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to Four Diamonds, an organization devoted to conquering childhood cancer (, would be appreciated by the family.

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