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St. Vincent de Paul: Santa Clara County

St. Vincent de Paul Santa Clara County

Clifton L. Herndon, Longtime Vincentian Passes

SVDP mourns the passing of one of our longtime Vincentians. Clifton Herndon of our St Thomas Aquinas Conference in Palo Alto, and the mother of Anne Fillin, Conference President, left us on March 22, 2020. Our deepest condolences to her family. She will be greatly missed by SVDP and was an incredible woman. Please read about her remarkable life below.

Clifton L Herndon
Aug 25, 1926 – Mar 22, 2020
Palo Alto

Cliff was born in Los Angeles where she graduated from Catholic Girls High School. While attending UC Berkley, she met her husband John Herndon at a Newman Club dance. It was their love of God that brought them together, and it was this great love that became the theme for their long life together.

Cliff and John were married in San Francisco, moved to Santa Cruz as their family grew, and finally to Palo Alto were Cliff lived for over 60 years. Cliff devoted her life to raising her family of nine children and to teaching and serving those in need. She and her husband enjoyed sponsoring young initiates into their Catholic community, participating in leadership teams on Cursillo weekends and serving through the local St. Vincent de Paul Conference. They taught catechism at a local migrant farmworker camp, and moved the family to Mexico for a year in the early 70’s to work with communities there, a mission Cliff continued during her two trips to El Salvador with South Bay Sanctuary Covenant.

Cliff delighted in teaching ESL classes to immigrant students, and when the children were grown, enjoyed traveling with her husband and friends. Along with raising nine of their own, Cliff and her husband took in nine foster children over the years with various challenges and special needs. They firmly believed there was “always room for one more”.

Cliff was devoted to her family and always had a big smile and a kind word for everyone she met. She always made time to stop and smell the roses. She is survived by her children: Anne Fillin, John (Peggy), Felix (Valerie), Mary (Jeff), Louise Wells, Liz (Jere), Matt and Ben (Karin), along with ten grandchildren and one great-grandchild. She is preceded in death by her husband John R. Herndon, her son, Peter Mark Herndon Sr, and her sister, Anne LaForce Penn of San Francisco.

An intimate family memorial was held at Gate of Heaven Catholic Cemetery in Los Altos. A larger service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made be made to St Thomas Aquinas Parish, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, or South Bay Sanctuary Covenant.