Dan Herbert, AIA (1927-2019)
I never experienced the privilege of taking a studio or class taught by Dan during my days as a student at the University of Oregon. If my memory serves me correctly, he did review several of my studio projects, including my design for an expansion of the McMinnville Public Library. Dan’s firm, Herbert and Keller, had recently designed the real-life project for the Library, so I certainly received the most qualified critique possible.
It wasn’t until I returned to Eugene in 1988 that I really got to know Dan better. He regularly attended AIA-Southwestern Oregon chapter meetings. Though soft-spoken, he enjoyed the company of his fellow architects. At those meetings, he and I would often talk about local developments, evidence of his ongoing professional engagement following retirement from full-time professional practice. He will certainly be missed by his professional colleagues.
McMinnville Library Addition (1982) by Herbert and Keller Architects (photo by M.O. Stevens [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons)
Here is Dan’s obituary, as published on January 13 by the The Register-Guard:
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Daniel Martin Herbert died suddenly at home at Cascade Manor as he rose to greet the New Year. He had been on hospice since October for congestive heart failure.
Dan was born in Chicago to Litta and Benjamin Herbert on July 15, 1927. His father died of a heart attack when Dan was five years old. He started working part-time at age eleven to supplement family income. Dan joined the navy in 1945 and consequently was able to attend college through the GI Bill. He graduated with a B.F.A from the University of Colorado in 1951, where he studied fine arts and mechanical engineering, and graduated from the with highest honors in 1954, earning a B.S. in Architectural Engineering.
Dan met Eleanor McCullough in 1949 at the University of Colorado. They were married in 1953. They celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary in 2018. In 1954, they drove to Portland, Oregon to start work, Dan as an architect and Eleanor as a teacher. They moved to Eugene in 1954, where they worked and raised three children, Nan, Lauren, and James.
Dan worked in solo architectural practice or in partnership from 1958 to 1984, designing more than a hundred commercial and residential projects. He served as an adjunct professor at the University of Oregon School of Architecture, teaching design studios, computer-aided design, and advanced graphics. He wrote many articles for architectural journals and a book on graphic thinking in design. He received grants for his work from the National Endowment for the Arts and through the University of Oregon Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.
South Park Building (1975) by Herbert and Keller Architects (my photo)
Dan was also active in community affairs as a member and then president of the Lane Transit District Board, and as a member of the Eugene Renewal Advisory committee.
Much of Dan's professional and volunteer work focused on sustainability and environmentally responsible construction, city planning, and transportation. He also promoted living responsibly as an individual and as a family. Until his first heart attack at the age of 54, he commuted by bicycle. His children and grandchildren continue these traditions.
Dan had lifelong interests in reading, language, science, art, and construction. He continued his community engagement until the day before he died, leading reading group discussions, working on an exhibition of his most important architectural designs, and redesigning an entrance for his retirement community.
Dan modeled hard work, community service, and delight in the world. Eleanor, children Nan, Lauren and Jim, and grandchildren Philip, Kate, Forrest, Maia, Nicole, and Pauline have each been inspired by his life, and will carry forward his spirit and dedication.
Donations in his name can be made to The Brown Energy Studies in Buildings Laboratory Fund, University of Oregon Foundation, or to the Cascade Manor Foundation. An exhibit of his most important drawings are currently on display at Cascade Manor. A celebration of his life will be held in the spring.