Charles Wilford Sheerin, educator and clergyman, died at age 85 on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011 at Westminster-Canterbury of the Blue Ridge.
Full of compassion, Charlie was curious, gregarious and a canny observer of people and things. In whatever setting, classroom, pulpit or dining table, he was always a teacher and raconteur full of laughter and love.
He built close and loyal relationships among his students and colleagues during his various ministries, which included Bruton Parish Church in Williamsburg, Emmanuel Rapidan, Virginia, St. Peter's Albany, and especially the Church of the Ascension in Saranac Lake, where for 36 years the 'healing woods' and birdsong of the glacier lakes provided inspiration for countless sermons which probed our relationship between nature, God and our own humanity. Whether quoting Gerard Manley Hopkins, James Joyce, W. H Auden, Ogden Nash or his children and grandchildren, he had a unique and deep ability to connect faith, politics and life in real and provocative ways. A firm believer in the equality of all under God he worked towards civil rights, the ordination of women and the acceptance by his beloved Church for the whole community.
A scion of a long line of Episcopal ministers, he was born Jan. 9, 1926 in Richmond, Va. to the Reverend Charles Wilford Sheerin and Maria Ward Skelton Williams. He was a graduate of Groton School, the University of Virginia, and the Virginia Theological Seminary. After his initial service in churches in Herndon and Williamsburg he was called to be Chaplain and teach English at Groton School. He continued his life in education as Headmaster of Woodberry Forest School, Chaplain and teacher at St. Anne's Belfield School, Trinity-Pawling School and the Albany Academy for Girls.
He is survived by his wife, Edith Barton Sheerin, of Charlottesville, two daughters, Edith Sheerin Patterson and her husband Bob, of Richmond, Va., Anne Sheerin and her husband Joel Kolker, of Johannesburg, South Africa; a son, Charles, of Washington, D.C.; his sister, Betsy Palmedo, of St. James; four grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
The family is especially grateful to the nurses of Westminster Canterbury of the Blue Ridge for their kindness and care in Charlie's last months.
A memorial service will be held Monday, Oct. 10 at Noon at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Ivy, Va. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be given to the Church of the Ascension, PO Box 271, Lake Clear, NY 12945.
Friends may sign the guest register at teaguefuneralhome.com.