Wesley “Wes” F. Herrick Jr., 77, born Oct. 17, 1943, went to his heavenly home on Sept. 11, 2021.
He was a long-time accomplished musician and entertainer in Pigeon Forge and a commemorated Vietnam War veteran. He was known as “Grandpa Duffy” and “Granny Hayrak” at the Comedy Barn Theater and “Pa Hatfield” at the Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Feud show. He and his wife, Diana, celebrated 29 years of marriage in 2021. They both worked for the Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment Group for many years before they retired to Las Vegas, Nev.
Wesley proudly served in the U.S. Air Force during Vietnam. He was a Sergeant and worked with the military air transport service C-124 military transport. He served at Hunter Air Force Base, in Savannah, Ga., and at Donaldson Air Force Base, in Greenville, South Carolina. Wesley was assigned to transport and drop 82nd Airborne Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and did general freight deliveries all over the world. He held the position of aircraft loadmaster. He was an honored veteran who loved his country, often saying “freedom is not free,” when he shared personal stories of his experiences.
After the military Wesley attended college on the G. I. Bill. Wesley was a former New Hampshire state trooper, a New Hampshire police chief, a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team member, a retired Teamster, a truck driver and an entrepreneur. He also ran a machine/welding shop in Pigeon Forge, when he wasn’t remodeling houses or entertaining audiences at the theaters.
Wesley was awarded a Vietnam Service Medal during a surprise presentation at intermission during a performance at the Comedy Barn in 2005. He was also awarded a “Quilt of Valor” and a plaque at The Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Feud in July of 2013.
Wesley will be remembered as an extraordinarily loving son, husband, father and grandfather. Preceding him in death, parents, Wesley and Phyllis Herrick. Survivors include his beloved wife, Diana; children, Keith, Deborah, Donald (Crystal), Donna (Joe); and grandchildren, Autumn, Alexander, Christopher, Frankie and Jacqueline; sister Pricilla (Dave) and their children.
A Celebration of Life will be held for him on Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021 at 4 p.m. at The Conference Center at Sun Outdoors Resort, 1004 Parkway in Sevierville (formerly River Plantation). Military honors will be provided by Honor Guard of American Legion Post 104 of Sevierville. Patriotic attire is encouraged.