Ottertail motorcycle crash victim remembered fondly from Metro Area to lake country
OTTERTAIL -- Former students, friends and family from the Otter Tail lake country to the Twin Cities metro area are mourning the death of Ert Jones-Hermerding, a career educator and coach who was killed in a motorcycle accident.
Former students in the Robbinsdale School District, where he taught for 34 years, scheduled a special memorial gathering in his honor.
Jones-Hermerding, 62, also made his mark on the East Otter Tail lake country after his retirement here.
He directed two fall musicals for the Perham Community Education, in 2007 and 2008, and was highly regarded by the cast and crew.
His death prevented him from directing a brand new theater project at the High School.
"We are really excited about a 'Traveling Children's play' that will be presented to other schools in the area. It is something I have done for 35 years in the past and it is a new concept for Perham," wrote an enthused Jones-Hermerding in an email to the Perham Enterprise, only a couple weeks ago.
School activities director Fred Sailer and Superintendent Tamara Uselman were also enthused about the new project, and were very supportive of the community theater program.
Because of his strong connection to students, and his range of honors and awards, the Minneapolis Star Tribune published a feature obituary on Jones Hermerding. He directed nearly 150 theatrical productions at Robbinsdale schools. He as also a football coach, who lead the team to a pair of conference titles in 1984-85. He was coach of the year, and was named Distinguished Alumni Award from Augsburg College, where he graduated in 1969.
The accident occurred on Highway 78, about six miles south of Perham, about 6 p.m. on August 11.
According to the Minnesota State Patrol report, the man was driving a 2007 Honda south on 78, when he left the roadway into the west ditch, went over a driveway, and landed on the upslope of another driveway. The accident was reported at about 6:01 p.m.
Assisting at the scene was the Otter Tail County Sheriff's Office and Perham's East Otter Tail Emergency Services.
Paramedics transported him to the Perham Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to Perham EMS director Jim Rieber.