Donald Reed Herring, the oldest brother of former former Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, has died after contracting the coronavirus. Herring, a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, passed away Tuesday evening, just three weeks after testing positive for the virus, Warren announced. He was 86.
My oldest brother, Don Reed, died from coronavirus on Tuesday evening. He joined the Air Force at 19 and spent his career in the military, including five and a half years off and on in combat in Vietnam. He was charming and funny, a natural leader. https://t.co/b8m0xKzAmM— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) April 23, 2020
Herring, known as Don Reed, was hospitalized in February with pneumonia, his family confirmed to the Boston Globe. He later moved to a rehabilitation center, which had active coronavirus cases. He was tested for the virus in early April and received positive results just a day later, though he did not show symptoms for another 11 days. On April 15, he was moved to intensive care at Norman Regional Hospital, where he died six days later.
"I'm grateful to the nurses and other front-line staff who took care of my brother, but it is hard to know that there was no family to hold his hand or to say 'I love you' one more time. And now there’s no funeral for those of us who loved him to hold each other close," Warren said in a statement to the outlet. "I will miss my brother."
What made him extra special was his smile—quick and crooked, it always seemed to generate its own light, one that lit up everyone around him. pic.twitter.com/SFMOaBVCN3— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) April 23, 2020
Born in 1933, Herring was the oldest of Warren's three brothers. He was born in 1933 and attended the the University of Oklahoma, but did not graduate, before enlisting in the Air Force. Throughout his career, he flew 288 combat missions in Vietnam, becoming a B-52 squadron pilot and a squadron aircraft commander and earning a number of decorations. He in 1973 as a lieutenant colonel and went on to start an auto-detailing business.
I’m grateful to the nurses and frontline staff who took care of him, but it’s hard to know that there was no family to hold his hand or to say “I love you” one more time—and no funeral for those of us who loved him to hold each other close. I'll miss you dearly my brother. pic.twitter.com/oOG6HArEL6— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) April 23, 2020
Herring is survived Warren, their two brothers John Herring and David Herring, his wife, Judith Anne Hart, and his two sons, John and Jeffrey.