Yesterday there was a military burial in the Fairview Cemetery. An honor guard, taps, a 21-gun salute, all to pay tribute to a man who had devoted his life to service. That man was Wesley “Wes” Herbol, born in Fairview.
Wes Herbol died on April 7, just a few weeks short of his 85th birthday. He was the son of Henry Herbolshimer (changed to Herbol), who was a longtime supervising principal of the Union School, which was located where the post office is today. His mother Maude was a Luther and was born here as well.
Henry retired from teaching in 1933 and purchased an insurance agency. After graduating from college in 1955, Wes joined him as an inactive partner. Meanwhile, he pursued a career in naval aviation. When a call came that he was needed at home he was deep into that career and serving in the Mediterranean.
It was tricky getting home to Fairviw, transferring from flight to flight. Andy Kudlak (who bought the old Fairview Airport from Neil McCray), had a big hand in it. The Kudlak brothers had moved their operation to the Erie Airport in 1957, but in April 1958, Andy had a plane waiting for Wes in Pittsburgh and he flew it into the old airport, the last time anyone landed there. With Andy’s help he arrived home in time for his father’s funeral.
Wes resigned from active duty but remained in the naval reserves, fulfilling any number of critical assignments, while also taking over the insurance business.
The move back home was a triumph for Fairview. Wes continued serving his country “on the homefront” by joining many, many service organizations, a fraternal organization, and donating time and talent to the Fairview Fire Department. He also served on the Borough Council, the School Board and the Fairview Cemetery Board.
Plus, he was a wonderful source for Fairview history. He shared his dad’s memories of the old Fairview Airport, which was practically in his parents’ back yard. He shared his own memories of it when the Kudlak brothers owned it. He shared his many Fairview Fire Department memories… all for the benefit of those who now or in the future reside in the township and are interested in its history.
Yesterday, Commander W. C. Herbol, USN Ret., of Fairview was honored for his service.
Members of the Fairview Area Historical Society extend sincerest condolences to the family of Wesley C. Herbol.