After a lifetime of independence and leadership, Mom departed this life Easter weekend. We are sure that heaven doesn’t quite understand the force of her presence yet.
She spent her formative years in Herschel along with her siblings Audrey, Doris and George. Mom was the second child of George and Dorothy Mann. After high school, Shirley became a teacher and taught in rural Saskatchewan. It was a career she truly loved and was sad to give up when in 1955 she married John Sherk. Together they farmed between Herschel and Stranraer and raised their family: Leah, Alisa, Bill, Trevor and Lana. Once all of us were in school, Mom became a substitute teacher – we remember her wearing pants to help us with track and field practice (unheard of for a teacher in the 1960’s). She and Dad drove thousands of miles taking us to sporting and other group activities.
Mom never did things in half measures –she will be remembered by many for many different things; she was a loyal friend to many, she was an extraordinary gardener, baker, quilter, crocheter, sports woman (curler, golfer [2 holes in one!], fisher and when Stranraer’s Twin Towers Ski area opened up, she took up skiing!), mom, gran and great-gran. She took joy in singing in the church choir and later with the Odds and Ends. She was an avid sports enthusiast who cheered on the Riders, the Blue Jays, Saskatchewan curlers and her children and grandchildren in whatever sport they were participating in at the time. Always community minded, Shirley was active in the OORP and the UCW and was a fixture at Legion events. Mom’s pies and tarts were sought after commodities at the rink and other community events. Her butter tarts were a favourite gift for her sons-in-law, too.
Once Lana was away at school, Mom and Dad wintered away; first on Vancouver Island and then in Arizona. There, they continued to enjoy life and came home to farm and spend summers at the cabin in Aquadeo. In 1999 shortly before Dad’s passing, they retired to Millennium Manor in Rosetown. She continued to bake, quilt and to be involved in community; this included driving the seniors to appointments and to look at the Christmas lights (she was in her 80’s!). She enjoyed her condo living and led the exercises in the activity room and organized potlucks and game nights. Mom always loved entertaining and cooking for a crowd and made it seem effortless. She was happiest when we were all together for Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas or a weekend at the lake.
Mom passed on her baking skills to her children and grandchildren. During this last year of COVID, her children have been sharing pictures of the bread that they have baked. She taught her grandsons to bake pies and they share with their families. When one grandson wanted her bread recipe, Gran found the one that Papa had written down as she added ingredients when she baked (because she didn’t use a recipe) – it started with 10 cups of warm water! She giggled and then started some bread in pans to send to him in Saskatoon along with the recipe.
Shirley loved fresh flowers and chocolate. It’s hard to know what to gift someone who is turning 90 but, she thoroughly enjoyed the chocolates she got for her birthday that year! In fact, I think she almost lived on chocolate for the next four months.
Shirley was predeceased by her parents and her sisters as well as by her husband John in 1999, sons-in-law Don Klassen and Watson McGregor and nephew Brian Hook. She is survived by her children, their spouses, grandchildren and their spouses and great grandchildren: Leah and Bob McDonald, their sons RJ and Stewart and granddaughter, Vanessa; Alisa McGregor and Randy Buettner, their children Jennifer McGregor and Len Mrazek and grandson, Justin; Michael McGregor and Kylie Newton and grandchildren, Cruze and Remy; Drew and Jazzmon McGregor; and Amy Buettner; Bill and Wendy Sherk, their children: John Sherk; Clare and Mark Sawatzky and grandchildren George, Hazel, Rose and Fern; Greg and Abby Sherk and grandson William; and Ben and Deidre Sherk; Trevor Sherk and Shari Brightwell and their children Gerri Brightwell and Michael den Otter and grandchildren Maya and Caleb; Cory and Crystal Brightwell and grandchildren Jackson and Ruby; Lana and Trevor Nimegeers and their children Nigel, Spencer, Reuben and Oliver. Shirley is also survived by her brother George, his wife Lea and their children Kim, Christopher, Darcy, Beth and Tamara; as well as her niece Barbara Hook and nephews Gregg Hook, Cameron Johnson and Colin Johnson. She will be remembered by her many lifelong friends, neighbours and friends from Millennium Manor, as well as the care workers and the residents of Orange Memories and Rose Villa. We are sure she is enjoying flowers, chocolate and a beer with her loved ones in heaven.
Due to the current restrictions, a celebration of life will be held at a future date. Donations in memory of Shirley may be made to the Rose Villa Activity Fund (Rosetown & District Health Centre LTC Activity Fund), P.O. Box 653, Rosetown, SK S0L 2V0.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Vera "Shirley" (Mann) SHERK, please visit our floral store.