Marilyn Herzog Honored With Spirit of Sonoma County Award

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Marilyn Herzog Honored With Spirit of Sonoma County Award

Marilyn and Family
Marilyn Herzog with husband Kip and daughters, Jennifer Buffo, left, and Tricia Townsend

By Tim Tesconi

Marilyn Herzog, whose life has been dedicated to agriculture and community service, was honored with the Spirit of Sonoma County Award for her many contributions to Sonoma County Farm Bureau and her unwavering dedication to Sonoma County’s quality of life.

Marilyn, the owner of Marilyn Can Travel and a co-partner with husband Kip in Sleepy Hollow Dairy and Vineyards in Petaluma, was Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s honoree in the annual Spirit of Sonoma County Awards program coordinated by the Sonoma County Economic Development Board. Marilyn was among the honorees recognized by Farm Bureau and 19 other organizations and chambers of commerce at an awards luncheon held on Dec. 7 at the DoubleTree in Rohnert Park.

Ben Stone, director of the Sonoma County Economic Development Board, made the opening and closing remarks at the awards luncheon, which celebrated its 12th anniversary as one of the county’s premier community events.

Those honored at the event are chosen based on their contributions to the economic development and enhancement of the communities in which they live, work, and conduct business through donations of their time and expertise in support of local business and in helping others.

“Marilyn Herzog’s giving ways and dedication to community epitomizes the Spirit of Sonoma County Awards, which honor those who are truly making a difference in their communities. Sonoma County is a better place today because of Marilyn Herzog,” said Lex McCorvey, executive director of Sonoma County Farm Bureau.

Joining McCorvey at the Farm Bureau table at the luncheon honoring Marilyn were her husband Kip, her daughters,  Jennifer Buffo and Tricia Townsend, Sonoma County Supervisor David Rabbitt, Diane Lafranchi and Steven Kundsen of the Farm Bureau staff.

A native and lifelong resident of Sonoma County, Marilyn Herzog has dedicated her life to building community, championing family values and preserving Sonoma County’s rich farming heritage.  Marilyn is a longtime member of Sonoma County Farm Bureau and is currently on the board of directors of the Sonoma County Fair where she is a respected voice for agriculture and farm youth. Marilyn has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for cancer research and is a generous benefactor to the Farm Bureau Foundation’s scholarship program, the 4-H Foundation of Sonoma County and other groups. Marilyn is a true leader, guiding others to join her in community building and preserving Sonoma County’s rural lifestyle.

Marilyn and her husband Kip Herzog owned and operated the legendary Sleepy Hollow Dairy in Petaluma for decades. The Herzogs were world-renown for their herd of registered Holstein dairy cattle. Marilyn and Kip have converted some of their land to vineyards and remain active in the county’s farming industry.

Marilyn grew up as Marilyn Jacobs on the Jacobs Ranch in Santa Rosa’s Bennett Valley. She was an award winning member of the Bennett Valley 4-H Club in the 1950’s and 1960’s, becoming a Sonoma County 4-H All Star for her stellar community service and her outstanding 4-H projects in dairy cattle and food preservation.  In 1962 she was the national 4-H winner in dairy foods and won a scholarship to the University of California, Davis. During her senior year in high school, she won the Dairy Princess title for the Redwood Empire. She later went on to win California Dairy Princess. After more than 50 years, she is still the only young woman from Sonoma or Marin counties to ever win the state title. Marilyn said it was her years as a 4-H Club member and her reign as dairy princess that shaped her life, instilling a dedication to community service and civic involvement.

In 2010, Marilyn, whose life has epitomized the 4-H motto “To Make the Best Better,” was selected the first recipient of the first annual 4-H Alumni Recognition Award, given by the 4-H Foundation of Sonoma County. The award honors a former Sonoma County 4-H member who on a daily basis upholds the values of leadership, citizenship and community service, which are the hallmarks of the 4-H program.

In 2009 Marilyn and husband Kip were chosen to receive the Petaluma Valley Hospital Foundation’s Gene and Evelyn Benedetti Leadership Award for their leadership, benevolence and commitment to the citizens of Petaluma. The award is given in honor of the Benedetti family, founders of Clover-Stornetta Farms and longtime Petaluma leaders.  In 2009, Marilyn also was honored for 30 years of volunteer service to the American Cancer Society. During that time, the American Cancer Society of California selected Marilyn as its Income Development Volunteer of the year. She also received a Petaluma Community Achievement Award as Woman of the Year.

Through her travel agency, Marilyn Can Travel, Marilyn helps many local organizations raise money by donating trips that are sold through silent and live auctions.

“We believe Marilyn’s abiding spirit and can-do attitude, coupled with her dedication to community building, captures the essence of the Spirit of Sonoma County Award,” said Tito Sasaki, president of Sonoma County Farm Bureau.

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