In Memoriam: Eldon Herman

Posted by D.S. 3/8/2021 8:17:12 AM

Eldon “Eldy” Herman passed away recently after a long life filled with dedicated service to a

number of groups and organizations. Eldy was among a small group of local auto enthusiasts

that created the sport of stock car racing in the Bismarck-Mandan area. He raced along with his

brother, Dacotah Speedway Hall of Fame driver Lefty Herman, from its very inception in the mid

1950’s. He loved to race, but his real passion in life was to make anything with an engine go

fast. He was a lifelong machinist and engine builder in the area.His specialty was Ford engines,

but his ever present smile could be seen whenever he heard a big engine come to life in a race


Eldy served his country in the US Army during the Korean War and came back to Bismarck

right when racing was starting in the area. He married Phyllis Renz, who was the sister of

Dorothy Gartner—the wife of Johnny Gartner—who was a fellow race car driver. Eldy became

the common denominator between two long time racing families that were hard competitors, but

Eldy assisted both on and off the track.

Herman worked for Modern Machine for over 35 years. Working on cars did not end when

Herman gave up his racing career, so his association with Modern Machine was a natural as it

allowed him to continue working on engines and anything mechanical. During this time he also

got involved in several local car clubs that were restoring pre-and post WWII cars in the

area.Eldy was the go to person if you had to rebuild an old Model A or T engine.

Volunteering and giving back to youth was also important to Herman. He was an active member

of local church groups and the Dakota Christian Camp in Washburn for kids. He also served on

the initial Dacotah Speedway HOF committee as his knowledge of the pioneer era was

instrumental in selecting deserving race car drivers when almost no information was available.

Herman knew these original drivers very well.

For many years at every local race track, one face was always visible in the grandstands. Eldy,

along with his son Gordy and his children ,were often out there cheering on his nephews and

relatives from several generations that were racing.

As Eldy speeds away from his very active life, he leaves behind his his son Gordon and wife

Sheila, grandson Jacob-Bismarck, and granddaughter Ariana of Moorhead, MN

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