Everyone knew her as Sheri, but she was born Sharon Lynn Lehman on June 1, 1947, in Houston. Sheri passed away peacefully Dec. 3, 2016, of complications from long-term Parkinson’s disease.
Sheri graduated from York High School in Elmhurst, Illinois, in 1965 and earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Northern Illinois University in 1969.
Fleeing the cold winters of Illinois, Sheri taught elementary school P.E. in West Palm Beach, Florida, before returning to Texas to be closer to family. While living in Austin, Sheri taught at Lake Travis Elementary and was honored as the Austin Humane Educator of the Year in 1987 for producing “Pennies for the Pound” gymnastic shows showcasing her students. Sheri asked audience members to donate their loose change if they enjoyed the performances and raised enough pennies over the years to build additional kennel space at the Austin Humane Society adoption facility.
As the Parkinson’s disease advanced, Sheri retired from teaching and, in 1995, moved to Llano, where she owned and operated Town Square Emporium. Sheri would decorate the store’s windows facing the town’s historic courthouse during the wee hours of the morning so people didn’t see her shaking hands and stumbling feet. The town and the tourists got to know and respect Sheri as she tended store, supported community celebrations, and touched others with simple acts of kindness. At the store’s closing party in March 2002, Sheri said the Emporium was for her “a place to work with my sister, to meet terrific people, to walk on old hardwood floors from the past, to meet the town’s people, a fun place to be …”
Until her last years, Sheri walked the banks of her beloved Llano River to pick up trash in the pre-dawn light and fished from its shores before the town awakened – but she was always a catch-and-release girl. Her love and devotion to animals blossomed into the establishment of the Llano Dog Park with the help of individual volunteers, the Buttery Company and the city of Llano. On Sundays, Sheri delighted in joining the “backrow Baptists” at First Baptist Church to raise her soft voice in praise and worship as Brother Rick wove a country tale into a Biblical message.
Sheri chose to leave big city life, hoping that living with Parkinson’s would be easier in a small town. Llano rewarded Sheri’s choice with loyal friends, respect that saw past physical frailty, and a whole community of support.
Sheri was preceded in death by her parents, Charles and Buena Lehman, and her longtime friend and caregiver, Nell Ross.
Sheri is survived by her sister and brother-in-law, Jodi and Jim Babcock of Horseshoe Bay.
A funeral service celebrating Sheri’s amazing life is 11 a.m. Dec. 8 at Waldrope-Hatfield-Hawthorne Funeral Home, 307 E. Sandstone in Llano, (325) 247-4300. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Sheri’s honor to the Llano County Library, 102 W. Haynie, or Llano Meals on Wheels, 1110 Berry St., both in Llano, TX 78643.
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