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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The Battalion May 4, 2024

Silver Taps: Kelley Raye Herman

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Kelley Haye Herman.jpg

Kelley Raye Herman only attended Texas A&M for six months, but the Aggie spirit was present in her from the day she was born. Her kind heart and willingness to put others before her left those who knew her in awe of her compassion.

A first-year student at the Texas A&M School of Law, Herman placed education high among her priorities. In high school, she finished third in her class and earned three bachelor’s degrees — one of them a special honors degree — and one graduate’s degree in business administration by the time she was 22 years old. 

Herman’s mother, Darla Miller, said she valued academics.

“She was a huge reader, and won lots of awards for reading,” Miller said. “She always wanted to write a novel, and I even found some pages of a book she had started writing about her illness. The number one thing that defined her was her education and how proud she was of it.”

Miller said Herman’s kindness extended to everyone she met.

“She had friends everywhere, and everyone that knew her loved her,” Miller said. “She was always such a sweet, giving and kind person.”

Sharla Holland, Herman’s aunt and Miller’s sister, said she’ll remember Herman for her willingness to treat others equally, no matter how different they appeared.

“‘Fair’ is a word that I always associate with her,” Holland said. “She always did what was fair for people even when it wasn’t the popular thing to do.”

Herman’s fairness transcended words. Holland said she had a powerful, lasting effect on people.

“She had a gift of making everyone feel like they were her favorite,” Holland said. “It wasn’t insincere, either, she wasn’t trying to be a ‘yes girl’ that faked like she liked everyone, she just had a gift for making you feel so important, no matter where you came from.” 

Herman’s selflessness was prevalent when she and her friends would make a weekly trip to the Finish Line Cafe in Paradise, Texas. When her friends did not have enough to cover their bills, Herman would let the cashier keep her change to cover their tab.

Even through countless surgeries and medical procedures, Herman’s spirit was not shaken. Herman’s older sister Lacey Sawyer said her compassion for others was especially prevalent in the weeks following her diagnosis with a rare form of cancer called myoepithelioma. When her doctors told her that they could switch the date of her surgery with someone in line ahead of her, Herman refused, and said those people needed help more than she did.

From a young age, Herman was a devout Christian, and her family said she clung to faith in times of trouble, such as when her great-grandmother passed away.

“She was always very spiritual, even as a kid,” Sawyer said. “You could tell something was different about her.”

Herman found comfort in those close to her — among them her husband, Zach Herman, who stayed by her side constantly during her illness.

“We had a huge wedding for her in December that was planned before she became ill,” Miller said. “I told them we could postpone it, thinking we could wait until she was better, but both of them said they wanted to have the wedding in December. He stayed right beside her the entire time she was sick, and I can’t stress what a wonderful man she married — her best friend and soulmate.”

Miller said Herman worked to stay content during her illness and treatment. 

“None of us had embraced the fact that she might pass away, but she told me, ‘Mom, I don’t want to die, but if this is what takes me, I’d be okay,’” Miller said. “She felt like she had a full life, and had seen a lot of things, and that if she was going to go that she’d be okay.” 

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