Lillie Edens Herndon, who served on the boards of CPB and PBS, died Dec. 3, 2010, at her home in Columbia, S.C. She was 93.
Herndon’s CPB appointment was one of seven by President Richard Nixon. Five of those were in August 1974, just two days before Nixon turned over power to Vice President Gerald Ford. Herndon also served on the CPB Board under presidents Ford and Carter.
As chair of the CPB Board, in April 1981 she testified before Congress on the Public Telecommunications Act, which addressed a range of public broadcasting issues. Part of her statement advised on the shape of the CPB Board: “I would, however, ask you to give serious consideration to having a board of at least nine members, in order to be able to get the diversity which I believe is needed on that board. You need geographical representation, and you need diversity in the skills and knowledge and information of the people who sit on that board. And you need the multiethnic representation on the board.”
She later served on the PBS Board.
Her honors and awards include National Public Radio’s Distinguished Service award and the First Woman in Broadcasting from the American Women in Radio and Television.
Herndon was born in Sumter County, S.C., in 1916, daughter of Robert Manning and Lillie Frazier Edens. She was the 1932 valedictorian at Blaney High School, and in 1936 received a degree in government from Columbia College in Columbia, S.C.
Herndon began her career just after high school at the local Edens and Faust Grocery and Dry Goods. She bought Faust Department Store when she was just 28 years old, renaming it for her daughter, Kay.
Over the years she was actively involved in education at both the state and national levels. Her positions included president of the National PTA, and vice chair of the National Association of State Boards of Education. She represented the U.S. Office of Education in the Soviet Union, Egypt and Israel, and was a delegate to an Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development Conference on Teacher Education in Paris.
She was preceded in death by her son, Wayne Woodrow Nidiffer; three sisters, Naomi Edens Moore, Ruth Edens Oehmig and Nancy Edens Shumake; six brothers, J. Drake Edens, Pete Mowry Edens, Joe Edens, Robert Marion Edens, Walter (Doc) Edens and Jack Allen Edens. She is survived by her daughter, Kay Nidiffer Rogers; three grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.
The family requests memorials to the Lillie Edens Herndon Endowed Scholarship Fund, Columbia College, 1301 Columbia College Drive, Columbia, SC 29203.
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