Herman, Jeffrey Alan


Jeffrey Alan Herman of West Warwick, Rhode Island, passed suddenly on April 23, 2023. He was born on May 17, 1959, to Mark Herman and Roslyn Marcia (Slavin) Herman in Holyoke, Massachusetts. He was the oldest of three sons. Jeff discovered his aptitude for metalsmithing while taking a class in high school and was soon making and selling silver jewelry to his classmates. He graduated from New Bedford High School in 1977. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in silversmithing and jewelry making in 1981 from Portland School of Art, now Maine College of Art & Design. While at PSA, Jeff was influenced by two master silversmiths, Harold "Hal" Schremmer and Ernest "Tommy" Thompson. Jeff maintained close friendships with Hal and Tommy until their passing in 2014 and 2022, respectively.[br /]

Upon graduating, Jeff was hired by Gorham Silver as a designer, sample maker, and technical illustrator. He then worked at Pilz Ltd., a small silver company where he created and restored ecclesiastical and specialty ware. Jeff started his own silver conservation, restoration and preservation business in 1984. He quickly built an international reputation for honest advice and quality craftsmanship. He became an expert for museums, auction houses and collectors in need of restoration and reconstruction work on historically important pieces made by the likes of Paul Revere, Paul Storr, Hester Bateman, Jabez Gorham, Louis Tiffany, William D. Whiting, and Fletcher & Gardiner. Jeff was appointed Fellow and the United States Ambassador to the Institute of Professional Goldsmiths, based in England.[br /]

In 1989, Jeff founded the Society of American Silversmiths to celebrate, preserve and promote America's silversmithing heritage, and he remained at its helm as Executive Director. Jeff will be remembered as incredibly generous with his time and expertise. He was always available to help silversmiths and jewelry makers, whether they were experts, journeymen, or just beginning their careers. As an environmentalist, Jeff abhorred silver products that were toxic to silver, people and the environment. He developed a nontoxic silver polish that is now a benchmark for silver cleaning, from household to museum conservation use.[br /]

Jeff's generosity extended far beyond his profession. Over the years, he donated gallons of blood and sat for countless hours on apheresis machines to give life-saving platelets at the Rhode Island Blood Center. Jeff was an avid cyclist who was a loyal participant in the annual National Multiple Sclerosis Society "Bike MS" fundraiser. He also created and maintained the comprehensive CyclingRI website and organized many rides. He and his life partner, Elizabeth "Liz" Johnson, baked granola bars and gave them along with new socks to unhoused people. He was an animal lover and adopted several abandoned dogs, giving them love and pampered lives.[br /]

Jeff was a kind and thoughtful man who will be deeply missed. Jeff is survived by his partner Elizabeth Johnson, mother Roslyn Levine, brother Steven David Herman and brother-in-law John Robert Wrench, brother Jay Corey Herman, Jeff's former wife and close friend to Jeff and Liz, Becky Nightingale and her fiancé Roger Whewel, and best friend Jim Stahl. A memorial gathering will be held in July.[br /]

Consider honoring Jeff's memory by making a contribution to the National MS Society or by donating blood at your local blood bank.