In Memoriam

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Thomas D. Sherrard ’37

Thomas D. Sherrard ’37, December 29, 1994, while vacationing in Costa Rica. After graduation, Thomas taught for a year in a progressive school near San Francisco. There he met John Steinbeck, who urged him to join the U.S. Farm Security Program for migratory farm workers. After working for two years as a public assistance case manager in Albany, Oregon, he took Steinbeck's advice and became a camp manager housing dust bowl refugee farm families in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. In 1940, he married Constance Herring ’38, and the couple lived in Oregon until 1945, when he was recruited by the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration for their refugee camp program. He spent three years in China, primarily as director of the Overseas Chinese Repatriation Program. He was then transferred to Europe, where he worked for the International Refugee Organization caring for World War II refugees awaiting resettlement. At the end of the Korean War, he was recruited to direct the United Nations Korean Reconstruction Agency Mission. In 1953, he returned to the United States and entered the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration, earning a master's degree in 1955. After working for three years as director of the San Bernardino County Council of Community Services, Thomas returned to the School of Social Service Administration as a faculty member, teaching community organization. He taught there for 10 years and then moved to Purdue University, where he taught social welfare and urban studies until his retirement in 1979. The couple returned to Oregon, where they built a house in Mosier overlooking the Columbia River Gorge. In retirement, he was a great supporter of the National Scenic Areas Act and the Columbia River Gorge Commission. He and Connie traveled extensively and were active in community affairs. In addition to his wife, survivors include 2 sons, 2 daughters, a sister, and 10 grandchildren.

Appeared in Reed magazine: February 1995

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