Herman C. Belderok, Sr., 86, passed away Friday, October 16, 2015, at 2:10 PM.
He was born on April 6, 1929, in Antwerp, Belgium, son of Jacques J. and Elisa Maria (Knapen) Belderok.
He completed grades K through 8 at Saint Stanislaus in Antwerp, a Jesuit-run school, and left with his parents and brother, Fred, on May 10, 1944, for London, England at the start of World War II when the Germans invaded the Low Countries. He completed his high school studies in Beulah Hill, London at Saint Joseph’s College run by the Christian brothers of De La Sales. Since all of his studies thus far had been in Flemish and French, he had to repeat all previous exams in English in order to obtain credit.
After World War II the family emigrated to Bayshore, Long Island, New York, where he received his high school diploma.
Subsequently, he attended the RCA Institute for Radio and Electronics in New York City, graduating Magna Cum Laud. He then continued his education as an evening student at the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, New York, receiving his Bachelor of Electrical Engineering in 1957, while working full-time at Republic Aviation, Farmingdale, New York, as an Electronics Engineer.
In 1957, Herman was promoted to Chief Electronic System Engineer, and was tasked to supervise the electrical and environmental tests of the latest state-of-the-art aviation electronics at Collins Radio, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
During the 1950’s he worked on the P47 Thunderbolt, F84 and F105 jet fighter bombers. Due to his expertise in electronics, he headed up several teams to educate the pilots flying those advanced electronic system equipped aircraft.
As part of his duties, he visited a number of US and European Air Force bases, giving lectures at each of them in the operation and limitations of the equipment.
He continued his studies and received his Master of Science degree in Atomic Physics in 1963 from Hofstra University, and subsequently his Master of Business administration from St. John’s University in 1967.
Just prior to receiving his MBA, he passed the three-day New York Professional Engineering exam.
During this time, Herman met Ellen Agnes Ryan, a native of Hempstead, Long Island, New York. It was love at first sight. They were married in Saint Agnes Cathedral, Rockville Center, Long Island, New York on April 8, 1967.
After 1967, Republic Aviation promoted Herman to Chief Engineer at the Saint Augustine Division, and subsequently as Program Manager responsible for modifying C119 aircraft, a “Puff the Magic Dragon” gunship used during the Vietnam conflict.
Subsequently, he was assigned to be the manager of the Republic – Fairchild team installing and testing environmental systems on the over-the-horizon early warning radar system in North Dakota.
Herman left Republic in 1972 for some short stints. He was the Director of Development for the city of Hagerstown, Maryland, then as Chief Engineer of a small electrical panel manufacture in Connecticut and finally as Chief Systems Engineer at the Piper Aircraft manufacturing plant in Vero Beach, Florida.
In 1979, Herman received a call from Fr. Hector Bolduc asking if he would take charge of the restoration of the St. Mary’s campus.
Herman started flying in 1952 and over the years he received FAA pilot certificates to include commercial and instrument flight, single and multi engine ratings, flight and ground instructor ratings. He owned several airplanes and amassed 2500 flight hours. While at St. Mary’s in the early 1980s he flew the Society of Saint Pius X’s District superior every weekend to the outlying missions. He also made twice yearly trips to each coast visiting the far-flung missions.
From 1984 through 1996, working at the Federal Aviation Administration as an Aircraft Certification Engineer, he was tasked to visit and be the FAA representative for all foreign manufacturers of small aircraft and gliders. This necessitated traveling all over Europe and Russia several times a year.
After retiring in 1996, he taught at the St.
Mary’s campus in both the high school and college, covering General Science, Biology, Business Operations, Government, Calculus and Micro Economics. He finally retired 2009.
Herman is preceded in death by his grandparents, Louise and Sophie (Waller) Belderok, Flushing, Netherlands, his parents, and brother Fred.
Herman is survived by his wife, Ellen, of 48 years and by two sons, Jacques, and wife Deborah, St. Mary’s, Kansas; Herman Jr. and wife Tara, Kansas City, Missouri
and 13 grandchildren.
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