Cover photo for Willie Herndon's Obituary
Willie Herndon Profile Photo

Willie Herndon

November 17, 1948 — April 8, 2023

Willie Herndon

Willie passed away on April 8, 2023. Funeral services are planned for Saturday, April 15, 2023 at the Henderson's Chapel starting at 2:00pm.


William Charles (Willie) Herndon was born November 17, 1948, in Des Moines, Iowa. He was educated in the Des Moines Public School System where he graduated from Des Moines Technical High School in 1967. He later attended Indian Hills Community College in Centerville.

Willie was an all around athlete, playing football, baseball, basketball and softball, he made his mark in life playing sports. He started in high school and played fast-pitch softball afterwards for various teams including the Des Moines Jets and the Police Community League and ending with the Henry J’s. He played in many state tournaments. As a great baseman, he played 3rd and 1st base equally well. He was so versatile he played every position including pitcher and catcher. As a consistent .300 batter, he was the Master. He hit the ball against Hall of Fame pitchers including Al Rausch, Greg Bosch and Dean and Gene Olson, to name a few. The tougher the pitcher, the harder they threw, the better Willie liked it. With as quick a wrists as anyone in the game, “Whipper Will” as his teammates called him, could hit any pitcher in the nation. Willie was well-known for telling his teammates, “I can hit a pea in a storm!” Andy he could! He had numerous awards for MVP, and pulled many games out of the tank to win; and in all, played in 10 Iowa State Open Tournaments with teams finishing in the top 6 or better. Willie was also well known for his great sense of humor as a teammate as well as his fierce competitive spirit and hitting prowess. “Whipper Will” kept his teams loose and having fun while playing at the highest level of competition. But the thing that Willie remembered most about playing softball, was the wonderful friends that he made over the years.

Along with 18 years of softball, Willie was employed in various occupations. He helped withplacing immigrants in jobs and housing; he worked at Proteus, Inc., Penn Dixie, and National By Products.

Willie was busy all his life, and still found time for love. He and Neva Hill were married in 1979. Although they divorced, he and Neva remained great friends and took care of each other until the end of his life.

Willie passed away April 8, 2023, at the age of 74 years old. Preceding him in death were his parents, Frank and Rebecca Herndon; his brothers, John Herndon, Frank Herndon, James (Loria) Wright, Morris (Peggy) Wright; his sister, Beatrice (Eugene) Perkins and his brothers-in-law, John Simmons and James Miller.

Willie is survived by Neva Herndon Hill; his sisters, Florene Miller and Lucille Myers and sister- in-law, Katie Herndon along with a multitude of other family members, friends and acquaintances.


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Past Services

Funeral Service

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Starts at 2:00 pm

Henderson's Highland Park Funeral Home

3500 6th Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50313

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