SHERILYNN (SHERI) J. STEPHENS It is with great sadness we announce the passing of our wonderful and much-loved mother, Sherilynn (Sheri) J. Stephens. After a long battle with Parkinson’s disease, Sheri passed peacefully on Tuesday November 30th surrounded by family. Our mother will forever be remembered for her resiliency and positive attitude during difficult times. Her life was much more than the last years struggling with late-stage Parkinson’s. Sheri was born in Chicago, IL At an early age, she went with her mother and brother to meet their father in Fairbanks Alaska. The Strickland family were some of the early, pre-statehood residents of the Last Frontier. The trip, up the not yet finished Alaska-Canadian (AlCan) highway, was quite the adventure. Sheri, her mother Violet, brother David, and the family collie had to resort to hitching rides with long haul truckers after the family station wagon broke down. Once settled, they spent most of their lives in Fairbanks, AK. Sheri left briefly to visit a warmer climate and decided to make her way in CA where she met her husband, Richard Stephens. They eventually married and moved back to North Pole, AK where she raised her three children, Dawn Stephens Branthaver, Michael Stephens, and Scott Stephens. Times were not always easy and despite having three teenagers, mom managed to go to school full time and received her bachelor’s degree, all while working full time. To this day, we don’t know how she did it. This is one of the legacy characteristics that Sheri passed on to her family. Sheri tackled every obstacle with a positive attitude and a will to succeed. Sheri was also a very dedicated hockey mom and grandmother. Not only did she manage to provide rides and support for all her kids, but she also played hockey herself, receiving the great distinction as the only person in the family that played hockey and lost her teeth while playing goalie. Sheri spent many cold days and nights yelling at the referees for inaccurate calls against her wonderful children who, of course, never crossed the line. Some of you may still remember her voice in the stands. We will never forget that! For those of you that don’t know, Sheri was a runner up in the Miss Alaska pageant where she won most photogenic. She went on to work as an office manager and as a real estate agent for the rest of her time in North Pole. After her kids grew up and moved out, she then took on another incredible challenge to help other, not so fortunate children by investing her time in the local foster care program. Here she helped support many young children, some of whom were in contact with her until her passing, yet another example of her generosity and loving spirit. Sheri was a devoted Christian and was a regular member of the now named New Hope Methodist-Presbyterian church in North Pole, Ak. Her final church membership was at Aldersgate Church in Chico, CA. Sheri moved to California to care for her mother and spend time with her grandchildren. She moved to Chico, CA. where she lived for the rest of her life. She spent most of her time loving and caring for her mother Violet and the rest of her extended family. Sheri made a yearly trip to North Carolina with a grandchild in tow. This annual excursion led to the ongoing connection between her grandchildren and has kept the east coast relatives tightly linked to the rest of the family. Finally, you may all remember her bright pink patch of hair. Everyone always commented on it and it was in honor of her victory over breast cancer. Sheri is joining her Mother Violet, her Father Merrill, and her brother David in heaven as well as her many pets, the last being her beloved dog Kodiak. Sheri leaves behind her loving daughter, Dawn Stephens Branthaver, her husband Charles Branthaver, sons Michael and Scott Stephens and their spouses, Charlotte and Teresa Stephens, as well as her grandchildren, Blaine, Denali, and Sierra Branthaver, Lillian, and Laura Vancosky, and Hannah Stephens. We will all miss her dearly but her strength and positivity will carry us through. The family asks in lieu of flowers, that you please donate to The Michael J. Fox Foundation at https:// www.michaeljfox.org. A service will be held at Aldersgate Church in Chico, CA. on Saturday 1/15 at 2:00pm.
Published by Chico Enterprise-Record on Jan. 2, 2022.