John Robert (Bob) Herr Jr.

John Robert (Bob) Herr Jr., 73, of Lancaster, Pa., died Oct. 25, 2021, after a battle with abdominal cancer. He was born March 30, 1948, to J. Robert and Lois Martin Herr.


He grew up in southern Lancaster County and graduated from Lancaster Mennonite High School in 1966. After two years at Eastern Mennonite College in Harrisonburg, Va., he graduated from Goshen College in Indiana in 1972. He later earned a master’s degree in economic and social development from the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs of the University of Pittsburgh.

Much of his career focused on international relief and development work with Mennonite Central Committee. He first served in MCC’s Pax program in France from 1968 to 1970, in lieu of military service. He and Judy taught school in Malawi from 1975 to 1978 and worked in South Africa from 1982 to 1986 and in Botswana from 1987 to 1991. Their last international placement was as directors for MCC’s work in East Africa, based in Nairobi, Kenya, from 2009 to 2014.

He and Judy worked together in the MCC office in Akron as directors for MCC’s International Peace Office from 1991 to 2007, providing leadership in MCC’s peacebuilding work. From 2003 onward, they helped in developing MCC’s international planning, monitoring and reporting system. From 2007 to 2009, they pioneered a new department within MCC to provide technical support for program work.

After retiring from MCC in 2014, he worked part time for Mennonite World Conference and as an interim director for the Nazareth Project, supporting the work of the Nazareth Hospital in Israel. He joined Judy in several writing projects.

He was an active member of East Chestnut Street Mennonite Church, where he taught in the adult Sunday school for many years and served on the church board.

Survivors include his wife and partner of 46 years, Judy Zimmerman Herr; and two sons, Mark of Minneapolis and Daniel of Boston.

Memorial services were held at East Chestnut Street Mennonite Church, Lancaster. Memorial gifts may be sent to Mennonite Central Committee or to Lancaster Downtowners.

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