Gary Herrmann, who lettered as a tackle at Tennessee in the 1951 national championship season, died Tuesday at the Williamson Medical Center in Franklin. He was 80.
Mr. Herrmann's death further thins the ranks of Tennessee players from that final era of the Robert R. Neyland years at Tennessee.
A talented athlete, Mr. Herrmann, who wore No. 34 as a Vol and played the weak-side tackle at 6-foot-2, 193 pounds, came to Knoxville after a distinguished prep career in Davenport, Iowa.
Mr. Herrmann earned his bachelor's degree in animal husbandry from Tennessee in 1954. He fulfilled his ROTC commitment serving in the U. S. Army in Fort Benning, Ga., and Fort Ord, Calif.
Upon returning to civilian life, he leased a dairy farm in Rural Retreat, Va., where he raised Holstein cattle. In 1963, he moved his family and livestock to Columbia, Tenn., where he joined in partnership in the dairy operation and was farm manager for Jewell Farm.
In 1967, Mr. Herrmann settled in the Cross Bridges community between Columbia and Hohenwald. He was affectionately (and widely) known across the community as "mayor of Cross Bridges" due to his constant care and concern for all area happenings. He and his employees were always available to help the entire community, especially during inclement weather.
"He was fast for a tackle," said teammate Colin Munro, his collegiate roommate now living in Batavia, Ill. "It was a different game back then, maybe a better game. We were a running team and needed blockers. Gary was one of the better blockers."
Survivors include his wife of 59 years, Phyllis Hampton Herrmann of Cross Bridges, a daughter, Christy H. Herrmann of Ringgold, Ga., a son, Bret H. Herrmann of Mt. Pleasant, Tenn., two brothers, Edward Paul Herrmann and wife, Dolores, of Kirksville, Mo., and George Allen Herrmann and wife, Janice, of Moline, Ill.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday at 3 p.m. Eastern at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home, 320 West 7th Street in Columbia. Rev. Tony Brown and Rev. Rock Jaggers officiating. Burial will follow in Polk Memorial Gardens.