Born on February 1, 1925, J. W. “Mike” Sherrard, Jr. was one of the original East Bottom “Wildcats.” He sold Roanoke World Newspapers after school during the 1930s for 3¢ a paper, serving 112 customers. The occasional nickel was a nice bonus. He lived across the street from two tennis courts and started playing in 1933 with a racquet that he strung by hand with mason curd. His passion for the game made it an integral part of his life into his 80s and won him championships at Stonegate Swim Club.
Mike graduated from Andrew Lewis High School in 1942, having played football for one year and basketball and baseball for three years. He enrolled in William and Mary College in September of 1942 as a war work student, dividing his time each week between attending classes and working in the U.S. Naval mine depot in Yorktown.
Mr. Sherrard enlisted in the Navy’s college program in 1943 and attended the University of Richmond for one semester. He then was sent to training bases and became a second-class quartermaster aboard a PT boat stationed inside Pearl Harbor from November 1944 until March 1946. One evening while on crash boat duty, he and his crew were sent to search for a pilot who ejected from his plane due to engine trouble 50-miles from shore. Three hours later, their radar picked up a tiny blip that came from the pilot’s belt buckle. All is well that ends well on a dark night.
In the spring of 1948, Mike Sherrard and Mary Seay were married and started a family while he was employed at Graybar Electric Company. In 1960, the family moved from Brushy Mountain to their second and last home in town.
Mike retired from Graybar in 1990 as a customer service supervisor after 42 years. In 2004, Mary passed away, and in 2016 Mike moved to The Oaks at Richfield, the place he called home until his passing.
Mr. Sherrard is survived by his two daughters, Mary Jo Rennick and Brenda Haupt; six grandchildren, Matt, David, and Lucy Rennick and Carl, Neil, and Glen Haupt; three great-grandchildren, Maya, Rafa, and Lola Jo; and his dear nieces and nephew.
A funeral service to honor Mr. Sherrard’s life was conducted on Sunday, April 25, at 4 p.m. in the chapel of John M. Oakey & Son Funeral Home in Salem. Social distancing and facial masks were required. A live webcast was available to view the service from the comfort of one’s own home by visiting Mike’s obituary page at www.johnmoakey.com.
The family received friends on Sunday from 3 p.m. until the time of the service at the funeral home.
Interment was held on Monday, April 26, at 10 a.m. at Sherwood Memorial Park in Salem, where military rights were conducted in honor of his faithful service to our country.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making donations in Mr. Sherrard’s memory to The Oaks at Richfield, 3706 Knollridge Road, Salem, Va. 24153.
Online condolences may be expressed to the Sherrard family by visiting www.johnmoakey.com.