Meet Funeral Director Sherry Marshall

Posted on July 13, 2018 by under Our staff
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Sherry Marshall Sullivan Funeral DirectorsWhen Sherry Marshall goes on vacation, she trades the hushed, elegant halls of the Sullivan funeral home in Royal Oak for the wilderness. Her ideal destination is in well off the beaten path.

She and her husband, Barry, have hiked and camped in in some of America’s most remote, beautiful places: Alaska, Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons. They kayaked on Yellowstone Lake. They went dog sledding.

They had a cabin on 20 acres of woods in northern Michigan, with only a two-track lane for access.

“In the winter we’d snowshoe in with a toboggan, with our pasties and wine; whatever we needed for the weekend,” she said. “It was quiet and nice. We’d catch up on reading and hope that it didn’t snow over our heads on the way out.”

Sherry has worked for Sullivan for 20 years. As a licensed funeral director she can perform all the tasks in the business: Guiding families through legal requirements, planning ceremonies, arranging burials and cremations as well as embalming.

She once considered becoming a pathologist, but “that was 17 years of school and a lot of money.” She supported herself during mortuary school in the 1980s working in the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s office, under the legendary Werner Spitz, now 91 and still a good friend.

The career path she chose ultimately suited her personality.

“I just like people so much,” she said. “I like to talk to people and learn about their interests and share stories of their loved ones. I try to get personal insight into each family without being intrusive.  When you help one family you feel like you’re an extended family member with them.”

Sherry Marshall, Sullivan Funeral DirectorsFamilies go out of their way to acknowledge Sherry’s services. Often she has helped them more than once.

“Your positive and energetic spirit kept me on track at a time when it was difficult to think clearly,” Ms. P wrote. “I remember your extreme helpfulness during my father’s funeral three years ago. Thank you for making those difficult days a bit lighter and brighter.”

Sherry’s active life changed dramatically eight years ago when her husband, Barry, had a severe medical incident, including a right-side stroke and resulting in a leg amputation. He now uses a wheelchair. They travel mostly in Michigan, to places they know are accessible.

“Handicap-accessible hotel rooms are not always so,” she said. “You often can’t get the wheelchair by the bed, the toilets too low or there’s only one grab bar.

“Things that don’t look so hilly, like the zoo, are really hilly if you’re in a wheelchair. Someone says ‘There’s only one step or there’s only two steps’  but when you cannot walk, two steps is a lot of steps. So I’m always looking at places when I go to see if we can get in — stuff that I really wasn’t observing before.”

On her weekends off, Sherry helps her parents, both age 87, who live at home in Riverview. Her grandmother lived to be 100.

Sherry and Barry do enjoy good food and fine wine. They’ve collected wine over the years and now enjoying those older vintages.

“And we have lunch at Macy’s because they have half off wine on Wednesday and Friday!”

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