Alfred O. HerralaAlfred O. Herrala, of Ovid, was called to plow a bit of heaven with one of his beloved John Deere tractors on December 4, 2012 at the age of 73.

Born in Waverly on December 20, 1938 to the late Walter and Elsie (Sunstead) Herrala, Al was the youngest of six children. The family moved to Seneca County, initially living in Ovid before settling between Covert and Interlaken on a small dairy farm. After graduating from Interlaken High School in 1957, Al joined the United States Marine Corps. He served with the Fighter Squadron VMF-122 in Cherry Point, North Carolina, Beaufort, South Carolina, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba until he was honorably discharged in October of 1961.

Over the years Al worked as a bus driver for Crisbell, Swarthout and Ferris, Ithaca City School District, and finally Cornell University.  While driving bus for the Ithaca City Schools and Cornell University he also worked as a mechanic.  Al’s work experience also included driving tractor trailer for Denver Southwest Express. In his 30 years of commercial driving Al drove over 2 million miles without ever injuring a passenger, a record he was quietly very proud of.

In September of 1968, Al bought his first antique car, a Model T Ford which he enjoyed driving right up until his final months. Along his life’s journey, there would be many other interesting cars added to his collection, four of which would go on to become National Award Winners.  In addition to his membership in several car clubs and organizations, Al liked to spend time playing and watching golf, being outdoors hunting, and following his favorite baseball team.

Al was rarely, if ever, found without his John Deere cap with good reason. Al and his brother Royce’s John Deere collection was and is a source of great pride and enjoyment. Many, many parades, plow days, and shows throughout Central New York were attended by the two of them. One of Al’s John Deere “G” tractors will be the feature tractor at the 2013 New York State Two Cylinder Expo in Canandaigua.

Al, alongside his wife Judy, had the opportunity to travel to all 50 states and all the Canadian provinces. His journeys and world travels took him to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Cuba, Italy, Puerto Rico, Germany, France, England, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.

The family wishes to extend its’ heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for the wonderful care given in Al’s final months by Corky Trotter, Lori Westervelt, Shelia Sulli, Fingerlakes Hematology and Oncology, Clifton Springs Hospital, Ontario-Yates Hospice, and the Finger Lakes Visiting Nurses.

Al is survived by his one favorite son, R. Andrew “Andy” (Kim Foxx) Herrala of Ovid; two brothers, Charles Herrala of Ithaca and Royce Herrala of Clifton Springs; three sisters, Ruth Sehl of Williamsville, Gladys MaConeghy of Waterloo, and Elizabeth (Richard) Koski of Trumansburg; and many nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, Al was preceded in death by his wife of 47 years, Judith Ann Raymond Herrala in 2009.

In keeping with Al’s wishes, services will be private for the family.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks those who wish to make a contribution in Al’s memory to kindly consider the Tompkins Community Foundation, 309 N. Aurora Street, Ithaca, NY 14850. The family will match dollar for dollar all donations made in Al’s memory.