Guenter Herold passed away peacefully at home with his family present on Thursday, January 7th after a long and extremely courageous battle with Multiple Myeloma. He is survived by his wife of 28 years, Deborah Townsend Herold, their daughter, Maya, and her future husband, Paul Padilla, of New Port Richey, Florida, and brothers and sisters -in-law Helmut and Erika Herold, Armin and Inge Herold, Kurt and Renate Herold, and Eckard and Marianne Herold, all of whom live in Germany.
Guenter was born on June 2, 1941 in Schwäbisch Hall, Germany. He was the second of five boys born during and immediately after the War, which left a deep and lasting impression on him. Having experienced the conditions that gave rise to the war, the war itself and its aftermath, he was keenly wary of authoritarian governmental tendencies, passionately pro-social justice and anti-war. For most of his life, he was on a spiritual quest and wanted more than anything else to see a more just and peaceful world.
Guenter had a long and accomplished career as a Wirtschaftsprüfer and Steuerberater in Dusseldorf, Germany. After graduating from the University of Cologne, he was one of the four founding partners of Heuking Kuehn Herold Kunz and Partners (currently known as Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek), now one of Germany’s top 10 law firms, and was also one of the principal partners in Verhüsldonk & Partners.
In 1992, Guenter made the brave decision to leave an established career, his country and family to move to the United States, where he married his wife, Deborah, whom he met through business several years prior. Following an inner calling, he wished to create something which reflected his values, and this turned out to be the “Yalaha Country Bakery” in Yalaha. As bread was precious and a mainstay of life during his early years in Germany, he saw the value of establishing a bakery offering wholesome and nutritious bread as well as pleasing pastries, in his new home.
Although creating a bakery in rural Yalaha required herculean effort, he did it superbly. After opening in 1995, the bakery’s reputation for excellence spread far and wide, gaining media recognition in The New York Times, the Washington Post, Southern Living Magazine and The Food Network television channel, among others. He created a joyful place, where people gathered on the bakery patio on Saturdays to enjoy live music and delicious German food and for lectures and special events. For Guenter, making customers happy gave him joy and making money was secondary. It was about creating something special, and he did. After 13 years of operating the bakery, he and Deborah sold it in 2008.
The Bakery was just the start of his greater vision, however, which was the creation of a unique rural village featuring a holistic healing center, a spiritual center, where the common themes of all the world’s religious and philosophic traditions would be honored, a puppet theater/small performing arts venue, an artisan area, featuring artisans performing traditional crafts, and a peace/meditation garden. Although the village was never physically built, the ideals upon which his dream was based will live on in the people he influenced during his life.
Due to the current situation of the world the family has decided to host a celebration of Guenter’s life at some time in the future when all will be safe to gather. In lieu of flowers, we would appreciate donations to either the “Florida Cancer Specialists Foundation” or the “Leukemia and Lymphoma Society” in his honor as both were instrumental in Guenter’s care.”