Geophysicist and Orinda Resident, Fred Herkenhoff, Passes Away

(Courtesy of Herkenhoff Family)
Fred Herkenhoff

    Fred Herkenhoff, internationally renowned geophysicist and beloved father and spouse, passed away Sept. 8, 2021, surrounded by his family. Fred is survived by five sons, four grandchildren and one sister.
   Over his 40+ year career, Fred held the role of Chief Geophysicist for Chevron USA, Chevron Australia, Chevron Overseas Petroleum and CALTEX. Fred’s technical leadership led to major oil and gas discoveries that affected the course of nations including the United States, Canada, Australia, West Africa, Indonesia, the Middle East and China.  In recognition of his outstanding contributions, Fred was appointed as a Chevron Fellow in geophysics and his impact is still evidenced by numerous influential mentees, publications, patents, and awards throughout his extensive career.
   Fred was born in Stamford, CT, and grew up in Hibbing, MN, and Mountain View, CA. He graduated from Stanford with a Masters in Geophysics and was Valedictorian for his class.
   Fred was an extremely active, fit guy who had a passion for sports of all kinds. He was an avid golfer, daredevil skier, very competitive runner, and (of course) a big Warriors fan.
   Fred loved adventure travel which he was able to share with his family on many occasions. He lived and/or worked in 51+ countries and visited all the continents. His adventures took him from base camp at Mt. Everest to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. He dipped into the Antarctic Ocean and ran races through the jungles of Thailand. He survived a cyclone in Tonga, riots in Columbia, flooding in Myanmar, a stampede of wildebeests in Zimbabwe and being held at knife point while on a field crew in Sumatra.
   Upon retirement in 2014, he accepted several roles: docent at Mt. Diablo State Park, visiting scientist at Lawrence Berkeley Labs, lecturer at UC Berkeley in Engineering / Geophysics, guest lecturer at Saint Mary’s College, and vice president of the Bay Area Geophysical Society.
   Fred was a legend whose legacy will live on. Heaven became richer and we became poorer with the loss of a true servant leader, one whose excellence and enthusiasm encouraged many others to join him in his pursuits.  We were better with him and his mark on our lives will remain with us always.
   We will miss you…

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