Robert (Bob) Sherwood, an educator of 37 years with the San= Juan Unified School District and Los Rios Community College District, passed away on July 13, 2021 due to complications from a stroke. Bob was born in Black Diamond, Washington on May 17, 1932 to James B. Sherwood and Zina Petersen Sherwood. His father went to sea at a young age. He was a sailor, miner and rancher. He died young when Bob was 5. Bob was raised by his widowed mother, a university educated school teacher in rural Utah. He grew up in Morgan, Utah where h worked on farms harvesting hay and played baritone saxophone in the high school band. He spent several summers in Alaska with a relative working on road crews. He was active in scouting, and was chosen as one of 12 boy scout regional representatives in the country to deliver a report on scouting to President Harry Truman at the White House. Bob graduated from Morgan High School in Morgan, Utah in 1950. He received an appointment to attend West Point but was unable to attend due to a football injury.
In 1951 he married his beloved Merlene Burningham while attending the University of Utah. His college studies were interrupted by a call to active service in the U.S. Navy during the Korean Conflict. As an enlisted sailor, he was lucky to be assigned to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where Merlene and son Robert could join him. His son Richard was born in Honolulu. Bob and Merlene loved Hawaii and made many friends while stationed there.
Upon his discharge from the Navy, Bob completed Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Utah. Daughter Rolene was born at this time. Subsequently, he and his growing family moved to Sacramento where he began his career in education as a teacher in the San Juan Unified School District. In 1965 he obtained a Doctorate in Education from U.C. Berkeley. In the ensuing years he held administrator positions in the San Juan District including Principal of Carmichael School, Vice-Principal of Arden School, Dean at Rio Americano High School and Vice-Principal at El Camino High School. Daughter RaNae was born at this time in Sacramento. Bob also participated in many professional service activities, including seventeen WASC school accreditation teams. His career then took him to American River College where he spent 22 years as an instructor and administrator. Bob taught courses in sociology and management, served as Department Chair of the Sociology/Anthropology Department and was elected President of the Faculty Senate. He also served as Director of Outreach Programs and as an administrator of night school programs. Bob was also an Adjunct Professor at Sac State teaching courses in education. He was known affectionately by his many students as “Dr. Sherwood”. Years after he retired from teaching he would be stopped by former students in stores and restaurants for an update on their educational and life pursuits.
Bob was a family man and lover of the outdoors. He and his beloved wife Merlene took their family of four children on many camping trips. Yosemite and Lassen National Parks were favorite California locations, especially Juniper Lake in Lassen Park. The summer after Bob received his doctorate he took the family on a month long road trip towing a trailer up the California, Oregon and Washington coast into Canada. The family visited Banff National Park in Canada and also spent a week in Yellowstone National Park. A favorite memory of this family trip was waking up one morning in the trailer in Wyoming to find a band of wild horses grazing around the trailer. Bob enjoyed participating in his children’s activities. He frequently joined into neighborhood basketball games played out on the driveway of his home. He also took an active interest in the boys’ little league baseball teams and scouting activities. Bob also believed in giving back to the community. He served on the Board of the Arden Park Recreation and Park District for a number of years.
Bob and his wife Merlene were active members of the LDS church. After he retired from American River College Bob and Merlene served an LDS mission providing tutoring and counseling to students at the LDS Business College in Salt Lake City, Utah. They also spent retirement traveling to Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and a favorite state—Alaska. The extended family spent a week on Kauai for Bob and Merlene’s golden wedding anniversary. Bob was the principal caregiver for many years for Merlene until her passing from a progressive neurodegenerative disease.
Bob was predeceased by Merlene, his loving wife of 59 years, his parents and his half-brothers William, James and Don Sherwood, Emerson and Richard Thorpe and Arthur Binnie. He is survived by his sister Darlene (Clair) Smith and sons Robert (Carol) and Richard (Susan) Sherwood, and daughters Rolene (Frank) Roth and RaNae (Joe) Summers, 13 grandchildren and 23 great grandchildren. Family and friends are invited to attend a viewing on Friday, July 23 from 9:00 to 9:45 a.m. followed by a memorial service at 10:00 a.m. at the LDS Sacramento East Stake church, 2745 Eastern Avenue, Sacramento, CA. A graveside service for family and friends will follow at 12:00 p.m., East Lawn Sierra Hills Memorial Park, 5757 Greenback Lane, Sacramento, CA. Because of Bob’s love of learning, a donation in lieu of flowers may be made to a school or charity of your choosing.
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