Born on June 20, 1918, she was raised in South Carolina. She went on to receive a bachelor's degree from Winthrop College in South Carolina and graduated as valedictorian. She earned her Master's in mathematics from Brown University, and later her doctorate in math education from Stanford University. While at Brown, she met her husband, John Herriot from Winnipeg, Canada, who was there completing his PhD in math.
After marrying in 1941, they came to Stanford, where he joined the math department and later co-founded the computer science department while she taught math to returning GIs. In the 1950s, she sought a position teaching math at Palo Alto High School, but Paly didn't hire women math teachers at the time so she instead taught math at Wilbur Junior High School, followed by co-founding the math departments at Cubberley High School and then Gunn High School. She was a national leader in high school math education, author of several School Mathematics Study Group (SMSG) publications of the "new math" curriculum and national president of Mu Alpha Theta (an honorary math club). She taught math at Paly the last six years of her career. About a decade ago at a Gunn High School founding classes reunion, the class president named her as one of the two most inspiring teachers he had had at Gunn.
She was devoted to her family and took them on numerous trips across the United States and to Europe. As an avid skier, she delighted in organizing annual Christmas ski trips to Mammoth for her children and grandchildren. She also enjoyed playing bridge with her friends.
She is survived by her four children Robert (Patricia), Jean Emans (John), James (Maren), and John (Bobby); six grandchildren Jennie, Nick, Liv, Neil, Kate Emans Sims, Matt Emans; and three great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held on Dec. 7 at 1:30 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church at 625 Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto.
In lieu of flowers, a fund has been set up to provide an annual scholarship for promising math students at Palo Alto High School. Please make checks to "PAUSD - Dr. Sally Herriot Memorial Scholarship" and send to PAUSD, Business Service, 25 Churchill Ave. Palo Alto, CA 94306.
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