Sherry Birkhold, 63

Cheryl “Sherry” Birkhold passed away Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012.

Born on Jan. 17, 1949, in Sturgis, Sherry was the eldest child of Orson and Willodean Poley, who survive her and reside in Sturgis. Sherry also leaves behind her devoted husband, Michael; her two beloved daughters and sons-in-law, Kimberly (and Erik) Ellner of Sacramento, Calif., and Amy (and Dean) VanDyke of Grand Rapids.

“Grammie” will also be greatly missed by her adored grandchildren, all of whom meant the world to her: Shane, Connell, and Logan Ellner, of Sacramento, Calif.; and Finnegan and Fiona VanDyke, of Grand Rapids. All of Sherry’s siblings survive her and are: Teresa (and Rick) Dickerson of Three Rivers, Carol Gyomory of Constantine and Orson (and Gail) Poley, III, of Sturgis.

Sherry was a devoted wife, mother, friend, and colleague. While attending Sturgis High School, Sherry met the love of her life, Michael Birkhold, who was attending Centreville High School. It was love at first sight. They were soon after married on Aug. 12, 1966.

After graduating from Sturgis High School, Sherry devoted her life to her husband and daughters. She gracefully juggled caring for her family, a full-time job, and attending college at Kalamazoo Valley Community College and Western Michigan University. She eventually acquired her degree in accounting with high honors at Western Michigan University, and began working for the Department of Treasury. Sherry masterfully managed a career that she loved and in which she excelled, with her family, her friends, and her involvement in church activities.

Over the years, she was an active parishioner of St. Martin’s Catholic Church in Vicksburg and St. Monica’s Catholic Church in Kalamazoo and was a member of the Servants of the Lord Jesus Christ Prayer Group. She was always willing to lend a hand and volunteered for many causes, including Crop Walk and Right to Life. All the while, however, Sherry’s top priority remained her husband, children and grandchildren. She never missed her children’s athletic and extracurricular events and nothing brought her more joy than spending time with and spoiling her grandchildren. Her family will be forever grateful for the example of love, compassion, strength and dedication set forth during her life, and the grace, courage, and dignity shown in the face of death. Simply put, she was and remains an inspiration to all who knew her.

The opportunity for visitation will be from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26, 2012, at Redmond Funeral Home in Kalamazoo, with a scripture service at 7 p.m. A funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012, at St. Monica’s Catholic Church in Kalamazoo. A luncheon for all family and friends will immediately follow at the Hackett Catholic High School cafeteria, which is located next door to St. Monica’s Catholic Church.

Suggested memorial contributions may be made to American Cancer Society Hope Lodge in Grand Rapids.

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